Those who know her say Copeland has the right mixture of tenacity and a positive attitude to overcome.
Donadrian Rice, chairman of the psychology department at the University of West Georgia, said Copeland is always quick to help undergraduates. He noted children visiting department offices are automatically drawn to her.
"She just tended to be the kind of person who always looks at things from the bright side and did that without any effort," Rice said. "I always felt that even during the lowest moments of her medical condition. She would fight, she would survive."
LaFleur said he once asked Copeland if she had ever had a bad day as they worked together on a tedious project. While he grew frustrated, Copeland just kept smiling.
She is a notoriously healthy eater, he said, who grows her own organic foods and typically snacks on a mix of nuts and raisins that she prepared at home — "her own concoction, definitely not trail mix."
"Aimee was still sort of trying to decide what she wanted to do, but one thing she was very interested in was letting people find their own way through life, their own path," LaFleur said. "She always tried to find ways to help people."
Family update blog: http://uwgpsychology.org/2012/aimee-copeland/
Bynum reported from Savannah. AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe in Atlanta contributed to this story.
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