Former UC Berkeley student recovers from hit-and-run through GoFundMe donations

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Wendy Mejia, who withdrew her enrollment from UC Berkeley this semester but plans to return as a campus senior, created a GoFundMe campaign to help finance her medical bills and other costs relating to her recovery from a car accident — and as of press time, Mejia has raised $2,350 of her $5,000 goal.

Mejia was hit by a car Aug. 21 on her way home from the East Bay Community Law Center where she worked. The driver was never found, making it a hit-and-run accident, according to Mejia. Mejia sustained head injuries, a fractured skull and injuries to her lower back, hip and leg. She was in the intensive care unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland for four days.

Since the accident, Mejia said she has been enduring a long recovery. She said she created the GoFundMe page because she felt that she had no other choice in order to pay her medical bills. Mejia explained that she comes from a low-income background, making the bills a significant financial burden. She also noted that since the driver of the car involved in the accident was never identified, all the expenses fell on her.

Mejia said she was nervous to create the GoFundMe fundraising campaign and was uncomfortable when asking for favors.

“I usually never ask for favors but I please ask that you please donate anything you can or share my story,” Mejia wrote on her GoFundMe page. “With school fees, medical bills, and expenses relating to my recovery these next few months are going to be stressful.”

Campus junior Leslie Castaneda, a friend of Mejia’s, noted that since the accident, Mejia has been struggling with the fact that she withdrew her enrollment from UC Berkeley in order to heal. Mejia was on track to graduate this upcoming spring.

UC Berkeley alumnus Bryan Osorio met Mejia through the UC Berkeley Latinx Pre-Law Society. Osorio said he donated to Mejia’s campaign because he realized that paying off health care costs can be especially difficult for a college student.

“Wendy is an incredible human being,” Osorio said. “I’m aware of how difficult it is to pay off health care and I wanted to do my part.”

According to Mejia, the donations she has received have helped her and her family immensely. She explained that without the donations, she would have had to take out loans to cover expenses.

Both Mejia and her former floormate, campus junior Henry Hao, agreed that using GoFundMe as a fundraising platform was successful.

Mejia said she is in the middle of reapplying to UC Berkeley and hopes to return to campus next semester if she is cleared by her doctor and is able to pay school fees.

“I really hope that this is just a bump in the road because I just want to get back to my hectic life and go back to work,” Mejia wrote on her GoFundMe page. “I’m counting the days until I’m back in Berkeley.”

Contact Julie Madsen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.