Paralyzed at 15, student finds self-advocacy, independence at Berkeley

October 6, 2021

Mariana Soto Sanchez, Media Studies studentIn January 2015, 15-year-old Mariana Soto Sanchez woke up one Saturday morning at her home in Ontario, California, with weakness in her hand. Within minutes, the feeling had spread throughout her body. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. By the time they got there, she had total paralysis. Later that night, they found out she had a rare disorder called transverse myelitis. 

From that point on, Mariana had to adjust to an entirely new way of living.

Six years later, Mariana has regained some mobility and will graduate from UC Berkeley this December with a degree in media studies and a minor in journalism. She says she continues to learn how to advocate for herself in a world that isn’t built for her. 

Berkeley Voices