News 12 First at Five / Monday, June 11, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- It is stunning progress. Doctors are now saying Aimee Copeland could be in rehab in the next two weeks.
The 24-year-old college student has been at Doctors Hospital recovering from a flesh-eating bacteria.
Meanwhile, her dad issued a challenge for the universities of South Carolina and Georgia for fans to donate blood.
News 12 was in Columbia Monday where the Gamecocks were up to the plate first.
Andy Copeland, Aimee's father, graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1983, but both of his daughters went to UGA, so he issued an early border challenge for blood drives.
"I thought, you know what, the only thing we ever want to do is outdo each other so why not issue a challenge where we can get out and give to something bigger," he said.
USC's Gamecocks are saying, "Let's do this."
"I first found out about it from one of my friends and it's a great cause and I just want to help out and support," said Greg Andrake, a junior at USC.
Katie Rudder, a senior at USC, said, "I've kind of had friends do the same thing she did, so it kind of hits close to home."
The Gamecocks braved the rain to come out to the blood drive inspired by Aimee's story.
"The original reason that I went in the public eye was just to ask for prayers and then it was to promote blood drives, but now I think it's taken on a whole new level. We've been told by so many people that Aimee's story has been an inspiration," Copeland said.
Copeland made the trip to his old stomping grounds from Augusta where Aimee is being treated.
"She is so strong. I just can't tell you the strength that she has," he said.
He says Aimee can now talk and is scheduled to receive skin grafts soon, but while she's in a hospital room getting better, people in the community have been out getting active -- even if it is for bragging rights.
"I have to say, 'Go Gamecocks all the way,'" Rudder said.
In the end, the ultimate winners are all of those in the state receiving this blood.
"You know what, we can give blood now and then let our football teams give blood on the field come October, but I know that will be out there too," he said.
There will be a blood drive this Wednesday in Athens.
There will be a 5k run in Aimee's honor at the end of June.
All the proceeds will go toward paying for her prosthetics. That run will be on Saturday, June 30, at the Augusta Canal at the Savannah Rapids.