Miami Beach

Miami Beach woman enters contest to build a beach for disabled visitors

Sabrina Cohen, is seen on the shores of Miami Beach on September 21, 2014, (after 20 years of being paralyzed).
Sabrina Cohen, is seen on the shores of Miami Beach on September 21, 2014, (after 20 years of being paralyzed). Courtesy of Charlotte Libov

On the night of Halloween 1992, 14-year-old Sabrina Cohen was in a car accident that left her paralyzed.

Cohen was in one of two vehicles drag-racing down Alton Road. The car she was in hit a tree, and she broke her neck on impact.

“I have been a big advocate in the community since my injury over 20 years ago,” said Cohen, 37, who in 2006 founded the Sabrina Cohen Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on helping the disabled improve their lives by promoting health through physical activity. “I’ve been working on developing an accessible beach and an adaptable playground with the city of Miami Beach.”

Now the Sabrina Cohen Foundation has applied for the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Nationwide contest. Organizations from across the United States propose ideas on how to help the community through innovative projects.

Cohen’s “Beach for All” project proposes an easy way for the disabled to go to the beach and an adaptable playground for kids with special needs.

“The beaches are ‘no-go zones’ for people on wheelchairs in particular because we can’t get our wheelchairs over the sand,” Cohen said.

The project landed in the top 200 spots in the competition.

The top 40 are being determined through votes on Facebook through June 3. The final 40 will each receive a $25,000 grant.

On Sunday, May 31, an event at the Athleta store on Lincoln Road will contribute to the foundation.

Cohen will be there to speak about the foundation and the plans for the “Beach for All” project. Athleta will encourage customers to vote on the spot, and the athletic wear business is donating a percentage of sales for the day to the foundation. The event will run noon to 8 p.m.

“People from all over the world have their eyes on this so it’s amazing,” Cohen said. “We are just trying to explain that it’s a work in progress but this will be like a global destination. People from all over the world will want to come and experience this just because of the limitations that we’ve had to deal with until now.”

If you go

What: Event for Sabrina Cohen Foundation

Where: Athleta on 1003 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139

When: Sunday, May 31

Time: Noon to 8 p.m.

For more information visit: www.sabrinacohenfoundation.org/ or call Athleta at 305-535-9842

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