"Sabrina is an inspirational and groundbreaking pioneer who brings a great deal of awareness to the topic of stem cell research. This is an extremely important subject and Sabrina is a genuine, sincere person who works tirelessly for her cause," said New, who chairs the Miami Beach Disablity Access Committee.
New and Cohen work together on the panel, which is charged with making certain that the City of Miami Beach complies with the American with Disabilities Act.
Cohen is one of 25 finalists vying to win the $50,000 grand prize in the national contest sponsored by Examiner.com. Her story was among those selected by judges, and she is now campaigning for the online votes she needs to win.
Paralyzed in a car crash at the age of 14, Cohen heads the nonprofit Sabrina Cohen Foundation for Stem Cell Research, which she established in 2006. She believes that stem cell therapy can unlock cures not only for paralysis, but also for Alzherimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, blindness, stroke and more.
In just a few short years, she's raised $75,000 for stem cell research and she's given it all away in the form of medical grants to the nation's top researchers. If she wins the contest, she plans to do the same with the prize money.
In 2009, WebMD magazine named her one of its five Health Heroes, an award given to Americans whose extraordinary stories of personal courage and perseverance that lead an effort to help others achieve better health.
To vote in the contest, you need to register first on the Examiner.com site. If you haven't, you can do that by clicking on Sabrina's story below and then clicking the "sign on" link to register. You'll be emailed a password that you use to log on and vote. Bookmarking the site after you vote makes it easy to vote each day with just a click until the contest ends Jan. 27.
Read Sabrina Cohen's story and sign up to vote for her here.