Student-Athlete Herrara-Farias Overcomes Obstacles

Student-Athlete Herrara-Farias Overcomes Obstacles

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. When severe, a person with this disorder is almost totally paralyzed. No one knows why Guillain-Barré — which is not contagious — strikes some people and not others.

You can imagine how Salvador Herrera-Farias felt when he was told that his mother, a breast cancer survivor was diagnosed with the disorder in 2014. Salvador, who lost his father when he was young, shares the head of household responsibilities with his older sister and teenage brother.

The extra burden of caring for an ill parent in addition to studying and practicing soccer takes an extra dose of mental strength. “It is challenging, but I know I have to do it. I don’t have a choice,” explained Herrera.

Herrera-Farias, known as Chava, is a sophomore accounting major from East Palo Alto.

“Salvador is a remarkable young man,” said Professor Susanna Wong. “He is very focused and engaged in class despite his responsibilities at home. He is a role model for students.”

Herrera-Farias was introduced to the College when a high school friend brought him to open day spring training for soccer. Menlo soccer coach Eric Bucchere offered Herrera an athletic scholarship that made it possible for him to attend Menlo. He is now a central defender for the soccer team.

Herrera-Farias said, “Soccer is a sport where I can forget everything, and I can feel like I’m working toward something. It’s a passion and it’s an important part of who I am.”

“Chava is one of the best young men I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. His outlook on life is unconditionally positive, and it has a massive impact on our team,” said Coach Eric Bucchere. “Sometimes I actually forget the responsibilities he has at home. He never talks about it, and he’s so dialed in on the field and in the classroom. He’s an extraordinary young man.”

You can help Salvador and Menlo students facing similar challenges by giving generously for scholarship support. Make a gift at