Soberanis said she was spending the holiday with her family when she tripped over an extension cord and broke five vertebrae in her back (C3 to C7), forcing her to be confined to a wheelchair.
Due to the severity of the spinal injury, Soberanis was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is San Jose where she began rehabilitation after spending 17 days in the Intensive Care Unit.
The doctors have classified her injury as incomplete paraplegia, noting she has lost feeling in her legs.
Soberanis also received serious nerve damage after attempting to break the fall with her hands, leaving her unable to utilize any of her fingers. She is currently unable to walk or hold any objects. This will make it nearly impossible for Soberanis to take part in her daily activities in Patterson working as a bilingual interpreter at the Hammon Senior Center, physically distributing goods for the hunger coalition in Stanislaus County and offering her services for various community projects.
Soberanis said the tragedy has caused a strain on her mentality, but hopes that harboring a positive spirit will help her eventually regain her strength.
“I’m used to being the one who takes care of people,” said Soberanis Thursday afternoon, Feb. 13. “Now I’m the one who needs help. I can hardly do anything on my own, but I’m trying to stay positive. I’m trying to stay strong. We have faith and we hope to break through these obstacles.”
After succumbing to the injuries, Soberanis was forced to leave behind her duties as president of the Westside Food Pantry and is currently without a home. Worst yet, she leaves behind her son, 29-year-old Francisco Soberanis, who has been living in the local homeless shelter (HOST House) for the time being. Due to the shelter’s living quarter policies, Francisco will be unable to live in the shelter at the end of February, causing Silvia much concern.
Soberanis said it was a challenge living without her son, who is functionally autistic. Without her influence, she fears that being separated will only cause more challenges in the future.
“We are really trying to find a place where we can all live together in Patterson,” said Soberanis. “I love my family and I miss them. We just want stability.”
To help ease the burden, Soberanis’ 26-year-old daughter, Shauna, has been looking for homes in the Patterson area to help bridge the scenic gap between her family members. Although Shauna is concerned for her mother’s health, she believes that her mother will continue to thrive.
“She has always been a strong woman,” Shauna said Friday morning, Feb. 14.
In an effort to garner funds for Soberanis, longtime friend Debb Deacy of Ventura set up a GoFundMe account in order to procure a home and vital services (including a $30,000 to $60,000 wheelchair not covered by MediCal).
Deacy said Soberanis has been a giver throughout her entire life and continues to selflessly work for others even without receiving pay.
“Silvia has given so much of herself to the Patterson community,” said Deacy. “She is a charming, wonderful, loving person and she has always been a giver. Now is the time for others to give back to her…She literally has no cash and no benefactors. This accident breaks my heart, but we will get through it. Please help. No amount is too small.”
To donate please visit http://www.gofundme.com/6tiknk
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.