Meet Katja Villatoro, Valencia (Spain)

Katja Villatoro

My name is Katja and I live in a village near Valencia for almost ten years. Before I used to live in Benidorm (Alicante), my profession was in the healthcare area and I was working in a private clinic as an assistant in the surgical area.
I have a son, Unai, he lived with me all the hardest moments of my evolution as a person with disabilities. He is my motor, he and my partner are the most important thing, but also I have the luck to have many expectatives about life that make me feel very complete.

• What is your personal experience about disability?

In November 1999 I was diagnosed with extramedullary meningioma with the result of spinal cord injury at the level of the sixth dorsal. I think that until that moment I didn’t know anyone who use wheelchair, unless the very old people.
The change I experimented in my life was much wider than 360 degrees, for the people around me I was transformed from an adult, valid and highly capable person to … how shall I say it?, to another very different vision.

• How did you discover the independent living movement?

Through a conference in Valencia and in my Post-Graduate Studies

• Is there an area of Independent Living in which you are especially interested?

Not only one, all of them.

• Who has influenced you the most and how?
All the articles I’ve read from Javier  Romañach, Manuel Lobato, Agustina Palacios, but also by Mamen Najera, Ismael Llorens, Javier Ruiz and more people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the conferences.

• What is your personal achievement is most proud of?
Well, getting my life back.

• Do you have a favorite proverb or saying?
You can.

• What motivates you to get up in the morning?
First my son, then my husband and last, but not least, my personal life

• What do you enjoy doing when not working?
Travel

• Who would be your ideal guest for dinner?

I am lucky, I can think of many dinners and very different. With fellow students, friends …

• What advice would you give to young adults with disabilities?
Do not surrender just because the road is hard, sometimes it is really very hard, but there is a way, if they do it now, some day in the future it will be something we won’t have the need to claim for…

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