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Jessica Coriat accepts the $25,000 Scotiabank Game Changers award. She will donate the money to Toronto Rehab to help other patients and families. (Photo: UHN).
It's incredible what a difference one person can make.
Toronto Rehab's Jessica Coriat was named the 2013 Scotiabank Game Changer on Saturday, October 26 at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football game.
Recognized for her volunteer work and advocacy, Coriat was awarded a $25,000 charitable donation to Toronto Rehab Foundation and a VIP trip for two to the 101st Grey Cup in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Born with Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis, Coriat is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others living with disability. When she came to Toronto Rehab four years ago, Coriat could not walk. Within weeks of her new therapy with Dr. Mark Bayley, she took her first steps. Today, she continues to thrive.
'Can't thank them enough'
Thankful for her independence, Coriat now volunteers at Toronto Rehab. She is a familiar and comforting presence for patients, staff and volunteers. "The people at Toronto Rehab pretty much gave me all my independence," said Coriat.
"They literally taught me how to eat, how to drink, how to carry food, and how to walk safely with a walker. I can't thank them enough."
Coriat chooses to give back to Toronto Rehab because she wants to help other patients become more independent, be the best they can be and get home to their families sooner.
The Scotiabank competition has provided Coriat with many opportunities. Most importantly, it has allowed her a voice and a platform to advocate for people living with disabilities who often cannot speak for themselves.
Coriat thanks Scotiabank and everyone who took the time to vote.
"This has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am grateful to everyone who voted for me," she said.
Coriat continues to share her message of courage and hope on her Facebook fan page and on Twitter. Follow her as she writes about living with disability, volunteering and what it means to be a game changer.
"Thank you for the chance to show the world that people living with disabilities can achieve their goals and truly make a profound difference," Coriat said. "I hope this encourages my peers to go for it. Remember to show others who you are and what you can do."