I'm writing this column on Flag Day, June 14. This is a day to affirm our belief in liberty and reflect on our freedom. Today we honor our flag, and we hope it will long wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Among our troops are many brave, some of whom have given their lives to insure freedom. However, this column is not about our troops. No, it is about one brave young lady named Aimee Copeland who is fighting necrotizing fasciitis with a "never-give-up" attitude.
Aimee was out for a day in the sun when she injured the calf of her left leg. Shortly thereafter a flesh-eating bacteria entered the gash on her leg. Necrotizing Fasciitis entered her body through the minor wound and proceeded to destroy muscles, underlying tissue and skin. It spread rapidly, causing amputation of a leg, foot and both hands.
Obviously this stuff is no fun and extremely serious. A victim may see a small bump on the skin which soon begins to look like a bruise. The skin may break open and ooze fluid. The individual may feel fever, sweating, weakness and dizziness. Treatment may involve antibiotics, skin grafts, and even amputations. Without the proper treatment, death may result in short order.
Most of us may not have been aware of this disease until we began hearing about Miss Copeland's battle, or until we heard of Sacramento's Linda Snyder and her death from this flesh-eating bacteria.
Actually, historical records discuss this bacteria back in the 1800s and it may have existed even prior to that. It was once referred to as gangrene. Mortality is high, as much as 75 percent. This being the case, we can only classify Aimee Copeland as a brave girl who faces many challenges and a future life with prosthetics.
At Doctors' Hospital in Augusta, where Aimee is receiving treatment, she has been called a "fighter." Once classified as in critical condition, she is now classified as in serious condition from the bacteria ravaging her body. All who know about her struggle have offered their prayers for her recovery.
University of Georgia students and members of the local community recently held a blood drive for Aimee. Her fighting spirit and refusal to give up is inspirational.
Our flag does reflect the unity of our people. Aimee isn't the flag, but she has united people everywhere. They watch her progress and extend best wishes. May God be with this courageous 24-year-old young lady in her recovery.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.