05/17/2013 05:18 pm ET Updated May 17, 2013

Aimee Copeland, Flesh-Eating Bacteria Victim, Got Bionic Hands In Transplant

University of West Georgia student Aimee Copeland received new, bionic hands this week, after losing both hands, two feet and a leg last year when a freak zip-line accident exposed her to a flesh-eating bacteria, according to ABC News.

The 25-year-old Gwinnett County, Ga., resident was on a vacation with friends last May when she fell while zip lining and cut her leg. While Copeland was receiving stitches to close the wound, a doctor noticed necrotizing fasciitis in the wound.

According to the Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, NF is a bacterial infection that "gets into the body, quickly reproduces, and gives off toxins and enzymes that destroy the soft tissue and fascia, which quickly becomes gangrenous (dead)." In order to save someone that has NF, the "gangrenous tissue must be surgically removed."

Copeland returned home later in October after enduring five months of painful rehabilitation in the hospital. Since then, she's worked to return to regain her mobility.

Copeland's father, Andy Copeland, told local ABC station KAIT 8 that he expects her new hands to help the process.

"She'll be able to utilize a lot of different functions, such as holding a glass. She'll have nine different grasping motions with these hands," he said. "It's going to be wonderful to see her be able to reserve as much normalcy with her life as possible."

A home video sent to WSBTV shows Copeland smiling as she picks up and delicate potato chip with one of her new hands before dropping it into her mouth.

Though she now has new hands, she told the crowd at a Salvation Army event in Lawrenceville, Ga., last month that they "don't make a home," according to Snellville Patch. Copeland also said that she did not consider her accident a "bad thing" in that it led her to her life's work.

"I've always wanted to help people," she said. "That's why I wanted to study psychology ... After this happened to me, [it became obvious] that I was supposed to work with people with disabilities."

Speaking at the luncheon, she said that she wants to heal the handicapped through nature, taking them off the "well-paved path" to experience natural wonder that might otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Watch her inspiring speech in full below:



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