Through completing his Bridge Award, 14 year old Corey Loader took part in a readathon challenge to raise funds for the Australia Zoo Hospital and help injured animals.

Reading has always been a challenge for Corey due to his disability, so for him to take on a readathon it is a huge accomplishment.

“l find it hard to read some words” says Corey, “l only started to really read at the end of last year, but l wanted to help the injured animals.”

Corey saw the opportunity to take part in the Readathon to raise funds for the zoo hospital in a newsletter and straight away he wanted to take part.

“Mum helped me with flyers at school and registered me with Everyday Hero for donations.”

Corey’s mother Coral is extremely proud of her son’s determination and progress with reading.

“We have seen Corey face many challenges in life” she says, “reading is one (of these challenges) and his father thought he would never read. But he is reading more and more everyday – signs, posters and books he has been given on wildlife and dinosaurs. He loves reading animal facts.”

Through taking part in the readathon, Corey raised an amazing $1326, making him the fourth highest fundraiser for the Zoo Hospital. As a reward for his efforts, Corey had the incredible opportunity to tour the hospital with the zoo owners, the Irwin family!

“Going to the hospital was great” says Corey who has always been passionate about helping animals.

“l saw a Koala that had been injured, a bandicoot that had got stuck in a pool fence and a wedgetail eagle had been rushed in after being caught in a trap. l had fun talking to Robert (the youngest Irwin) about his and my fossil collection, dinosaurs and our passion for animals”

“Corey doesn’t express much about what he has done once it’s finished” says his mother Coral, “but several things my husband and l observed while doing the visit to the hospital was very rewarding. To watch Corey converse with another child of simular age and have an hour conversation to and throw almost bought tears to my eyes.”

“Also at the end of our tour the boys took a photo together and Corey turned and said to Robert ‘we must keep in touch’ which again is a first. It may never happen but it was a heart puller for me.”

When we asked Corey about his future aspirations, he said he would love to work with animals.

“l am very passionate about rescuing and protecting endangered animals, dinosaurs and fossil collecting. I hope to teach mankind not to destroy the homelands of our threaten species otherwise there won’t be animals left. We have just lost the black rhino this year which made me very sad.”

The Bridge Award really does have an impact on young people. Through a balanced framework of activities, Participants like Corey have the opportunity to challenge themselves, stretch beyond their comfort zone and experience incredible rewards and a real sense of achievement.

Great work Corey, you are a true inspiration! Check out some of the photos below:

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