Andre Xavier is husband to Charlie Xavier, loving father and a man of faith. Life took a desperate turn for Andre and Charlie Xavier due to a horrific burn accident that would alter their life as they knew it forever.
Charlie’s miraculous journey of recovery was sustained by faith and moments of serendipity.
Andre Xavier is a voice for overcoming the impossible through faith and this is his story.
[2:25] Few hours before the accident
[7:58] The feeling of fear that has never experienced before
[11:33] 85% of fourth degree burns and chances of survival
[15:19] The path to recovery
[21:45] Message to the past self
[28:39] Message from the future self
Learn more about Charlie’s incredible story and pre-order the book
Join to support Cheering on Charlie Facebook Group
“What faith does, it doesn’t necessarily gives you ability to see or even ability to walk out of the darkness. But it allows you to trust for God to carry you out and that you have to surrender your weight so completely into the embrace of God that he can carry you out of that darkness.” – Victoria Rader
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Victoria Rader [00:00:02] In the world of many internal and external voices, the voice you’ll listen to is the voice that dictates your life, would you like to discover a clear path to a life of freedom and fulfillment? Then welcome to All About the Voice podcast, where we focus on awareness, alignment and action in order to live a life of abundance. I am your host, Victoria Rader. Life took a desperate turn for Andrea and Charlie Xavier due to a horrific burn accident. Charlie’s miraculous journey of recovery was sustained by faith and moments of serendipity. Here’s Andrea Xavier, a voice for overcoming the impossible through faith. OK, and here with me right now is a very courageous and faithful man that you have heard about a little bit in the intro. Andre Xavier. Andre, welcome welcome to All About the Voice podcast.
Andre Xavier [00:01:03] Thank you, Victoria. I’m just so grateful to be here with you and for the opportunity. So thank you.
Victoria Rader [00:01:10] You know, before I click the record button, you said this was such a great day to be talking. So tell me, tell me why today is a great day, and maybe there’ll be an introduction to your story.
Andre Xavier [00:01:22] Absolutely, Victoria. Today is the day that I’ve been dreaming for a long time. Today is the day that my beautiful wife Charlie is leaving the burn unit. And oh, and she been discharged just nine days shy of six months. We’re going to get into it, but it’s just a miracle that this is happening, and I’m just so full of gratitude and just so humbled with mixed emotions. But it is an incredible day that I just dreamed of, and at one point I do not even think it’d be happening. So incredible day today.
Victoria Rader [00:02:02] It sure is. Thank you for making time for us and you know this is a sacred space to be. I don’t believe in coincidences, so our whole family gets to cheer on Charlie. So Cheer On Charlie is a Facebook group that has taken a life of its own when you were brought to your knees by a horrific incident. Tell us what happened.
Andre Xavier [00:02:25] Sure. So, you know, I like when I tell the story of the accident. I like to give a little bit of a go back a few hours before the accident. So the accident happened on September 10, 2021. And we truly, or at the time, were living life to the best. We had two beautiful children. We had businesses. We had everything that truly were dreamed of. And one of those businesses, it’s a brewery. And Charlie always worked as our marketing director for all of businesses and that she’s super crafty. And right before the opening, two days before the soft opening, she decided that she wanted to build the kids area for the brewery. And she went there three days before the accident working and then the night before the accident. Actually, Charlie and I had a little argument because she came home and she was experiencing really bad pain on her neck because she was doing a lot of manual labor and was doing some sanding of wood. And I truly told her I was like, Charlie, you know, you have a rheumatoid arthritis and you know, you cannot be doing those kind of, you know, heavy labor work. And why don’t you just take the day off tomorrow? Go to the chiropractic, get some kind of relief for your pain on your neck and Charlie’s. Our defense was like, No, absolutely not. I have to finish that blackboard for the kids area. I’m using chalk paint, and if I don’t do it tomorrow or Friday, or I’ll be dry for the soft opening on Sunday, and it’s 48 hours to dry. And it’s like a game, Charlie. Somebody else can do that. It’s OK. Just take care of yourself. And she got really defensive. Like, no, no one can do what I’m doing. Absolutely not. And we actually got into a pretty strong argument about that because I didn’t want her to go and she wanted to go, so we go to bed. Next day, Charlie gets up early in the morning, she wakes up around 6:30 and she goes to the brewery before their workers are even there, so she goes there a little earlier. And once you’ve got there, around eight a.m., I call her said, Hey, Charlie, just looking for my car keys and I remember to yesterday you drove my car. Would you happen to know where they are? And she said, Oh oh, Andrea, please don’t kill me. I have that. And I was like, Well, you know, I should make you come back and bring me those keys because I truly have to run some errands. She’s like, Please don’t. It’s like, OK, when we’ll be home? I said, Well, actually, I made an appointment for the chiropractic, so we’ll be at three p.m. so I should be home by one. Great. So 9:15 a.m. Hour and 15 minutes after that call, my phone rang was Charlie. I answered a call and Charlie was like a very shaky voice. Like Honey, I have been in an accident. And I was like, Charlie, I don’t have time for silly jokes right now for real. She’s like, No, I’m really hurt. And I overheard my business partner coming over and she grabbed the phone, he said. And it’s really bad Charlie’s being burned. It’s like, Oh my gosh, what happened? And then they she text me a picture of her completely burned her entire body. And at that moment. I just couldn’t not even think. I remember I grabbed my phone, I grabbed my wallet, my keys, I went outside. So for a quick second, I stood in my driveway looking at my car, but I didn’t have keys to drive. So I go to my neighbor to the right of other cars in the driveway and knock on the door, said Carl. Can you please allow me to borrow your car? Charlie has been an accident. I have no idea exactly what happened, but I believe they’re going to take her to our local hospital at UVA. Sure, absolutely. So grab the keys. So I get in this car and I’m just numb. I really don’t know what to think, so I’m starting to drive towards the hospital. My phone rings again. It was a number I don’t recognize, so I answer. And the person said, Hey, I’m so-and-so, I’m a nurse. I am the wife of the chief firefighter here in Goldenseal. And your wife has been a horrific accident. She’s been burned. It’s a very serious injury. She’s going to be airlifted to VCU in Richmond. They have a burn unit. They’re the only one on the stage. So I turn around the car, make my way to Richmond. So it’s about an hour and 20 minutes drive. I was there within 45 minutes. I was really desperate at that point because burn airlifted I just knew would not be a good sign. So I got to the hospital. They made me wait for about two and a half hours. I was in this waiting room, anxiety kind of building up. I truly started to feel that my gut was not feeling right. I was like, Something doesn’t seem good here, why I’m waited so long to see my wife and they finally came and the chaplain came to see me. The first person I saw was a chap. Mm-Hmm. And I was like, OK. So Chapman was very sweet, was a female. She was super sweet, very comforting, and we prayed. And at that moment, they started to cry. And I don’t know why, because I still do not know what had happened. And we make our way up to the burn unit. And as I sit on the waiting room of the burn unit within 30 minutes, Doctor comes out with two other females. And Doctor introduce himself some. Dr. Feldman, I am taking care of your wife. You like to come with us to this private room. So we sit down, and I’ll never forget the feeling of fear that I experienced that very moment when he sat across from me on that small room and he was wearing his kind of operating room gear and he had a little hat and all covering hat. And he looked at me and I remember his big blue eyes because I was wearing a mask and he said, Andrew, tell me about your wife. And I was like, Well, Charlie and I will be married for 13 years at the time, and we have two sons. And he asked me, How old are your kids? And I said, four years old and 10 months old. Wow. He put his hand on his head and he’d remove his hat, and he looked down and he said, Oh God. And then I thought, how truly I started, like my chest was becoming tight. And he moved closer to me on the sofa. He came from across from me, just be right next to me on the chair. And I remember trying to ask him, what happened? How’s my wife? But I just couldn’t speak. I was like in shock, and I’m bragging, look into his eyes and I said, Doctor, is my wife alive? And he said, Yes, she is, but she is very, very, very sick. And he said the extent of her burns are humongous. Said, I do not even determine at this point our percentages burn. But I can tell you it’s one of the most severe cases I ever have. And I, my logic brand, just kind of kicked in and asked, But how bad it is, like, can you give me a number? It’s like, What do you mean? As like percentage wise, what are the chances of her surviving? Took a second and he look at me said less than 30. Hmm. And so he said, I’ll be back. Give me five minutes. So he goes out. He comes back within five minutes and said, You can come this way. You would see your wife. So I walk into this ICU room and Charlie is covered from her neck down entire bodies covered with a white sheet, but also can see her hands and her wrists are covered with this kind of super foam material. And her face is not burned. Her faces just like our normal face and was like, Hey honey, how are you? She was intubated at that time, so she had a tube down her mouth and she kind of smile and then kind of wave at me. And she asked for a piece of paper, so we gave her a piece of paper with a clipboard and a pen. She was still able to write at the time, and she wrote down. It’s good to see you. I can’t see the f time. Please take the tuna sandwich out of my lunch bag in the car and make sure you buy baby food for baby Julian because we’re out. Well, I think they wrote down first when I saw her, and at that time I still didn’t really comprehend how serious her injuries were because again, her face was fine. I could not see any part of her body was all covered, so I just do not know what to expect. But, you know, quickly I realize how bad her accident was. So Charlie was burned 85 percent of her body on the third and fourth degree burns, the only part of her body not burned or her face. Wow. Miraculously, still, Charlie, to this day, she does not really understand how or why her face in all burn because she was engulfed in a ball of flames. And the one thing about burns that I guess not a lot of people know I lost myself. We have no idea is our skin is so important. It does so many jobs. So it’s not just protection controls or temperature controls or fluids. Its keeps us warm. Allow us to, you know, sweat so that it’s just so is a company credible organ. And the first 72 hours is the most scary wants because truly what they do is called a fluid resuscitation, where they pump her blood with incredible amounts of fluid. Because what once you burn the way of what it does is it’s truly pull all blood and fluids are the entire body into the main organs, so your extremities, they literally started to die. Mm-Hmm. So to avoid that, they pump a lot of fluids. And I later came to find out actually, three weeks ago, I came to find out that Charlie’s survival chance at the moment that she arrived was not under 30. It was at three percent, which is that I’m so grateful for the doctor at the time for not telling the truth, to be honest with you, because I wish I could have handled at the time. It’s truly nothing short in the miracle that she survived, and which adds to the incredible story is she’s never lost consciousness during the entire ordeal. The amount of pain she experienced is humanly possible to describe. She never lost consciousness. The one thing that we also learned about the rescue Charlie got hurt in a rural area town of Gordon’s, was a small town in Virginia and the fire department, a volunteer fire department. They don’t have a site staff, so when they call came, they sent messages to all the volunteers. So whenever they are, they’ll come. Sometimes it can be few minutes, sometimes maybe a few hours. There’s really no way to control that. And at that day, the first person to arrive to Charlie’s accent was a nurse. She was the wife of the fire chief. She was shopping at a grocery store right next door to the brewery. When the accident happened to have the message, she was there within two minutes. That was very important because she was able to access really quick how bad the injuries were and they dispatched the helicopter at that moment. The second person to got the message was also volunteer firefighter, and he is one of the leadership persons for. Or the Virginia National Guard. He’s a war veteran with incredible experience in combat and also in rescue. Mm-Hmm. Second person to arrive So God truly put the right people at the right time, and one can say it’s coincidence. But anyone who knows that area, you know that it doesn’t happen that quick. She was able to put an ambulance within 10 minutes of the accident. She was outlifted within 17 minutes of the accident.
Victoria Rader [00:15:07] Wow, that’s incredible.
Andre Xavier [00:15:09] Incredible for even for big city standards. That’s incredible. Even more for a rural area. So very grateful for that.
Victoria Rader [00:15:16] Well, it wasn’t her time. No, it wasn’t. It was not her time.
Andre Xavier [00:15:19] Well, we absolutely know that now. And her doctor told her that if she had arrived three minutes later, he’ll have to amputate both of her feet and her hands. And thank God, that did not happen. And of course, we start the journey of the recovery and the ICU burn, and they told me from the beginning, this is going to be a roller coaster of emotions. Take it day by day. And at the time, I really do not fully understand why day by day is like going on. I think about the future. I want to see, you know, what’s next? And boy, I lerned truly, it is day by day because the issue with burns is infection. The rate, the number one killer of burns. If you can’t survive the initial 72 hours and the initial few weeks from fluid resuscitation, you become susceptible to infection because that’s another huge part of our skin. It’s protect us from infection. And truly, Charlie, miraculously, her stay was very free from infection. Now we can see that. But at the time, she had six very big scare off major infection, and luckily they were just false positive. What would you clarify? But at the time, we just did not know. Right. So the first big scare that we received was actually that they thought that she was in septic shock because her blood flow into the capillaries of her body was just not the heart was pumping, but the blood flow and the copters was not the appropriate level, so they suspect septic shock. What did I do where Catholics called the priest? Priest comes in gives Charlie her. I’m like the sick. And, you know, next two days later, they said, OK, actually, we still don’t know for sure she wasn’t septic shock, and now we’re treated as she was. And thank God, she’s better now. So we keep on going. And then another scary moment was when they thought that she had yeast infection on her blood. Just super rare called the priest again. And at that time, we were actually much more concerned because it took actually a few days to really clear that up. And he not only gave her anointing the sick, he gave her an apostolic blessing, which is an incredible blessing that we Catholics have that, but you can only receive when you’re dying. So Charlie received that, and once again, she proved so we went on that rollercoaster truly, day by day.
Victoria Rader [00:17:55] Now Andre, just for the sake of time, I want you to bring us in. At what point have you started the Facebook group? And in just a few moments, tell us how it has grown and rallied you on and took a life of its own kind of to expand that miracle for you?
Andre Xavier [00:18:14] Absolutely. So they five receive a call from a friend who has been through a horrific tragedy themselves. He suggests me Andrea why don’t you just start writing a journal. That way, you can update multiple people instead of responding to individual texts. I was like, I’m not a writer, I just don’t feel like but whatever. So the next day I start writing a little journal, just describing my day how my visitation went, and friends of ours created this page first as a private page and start posting daily updates on Charlie’s story. So truly, today I went to visit Charlie. She did this. She did that. So just that day by day and then within a couple of weeks, that page and about 400 people. And then the friend who created page and read, getting a lot of requests from different people that I don’t know, but they want to follow the story. But I don’t feel comfortable because know on this page we have a lot of your personal information. We controlled the meal trays here. We do all the childcare through here. So how about we create a public page and they continue to do a post there? I was like, Sure, public page cheering on Charlie was created and within a month and a half two months we had 3000 followers. Then it kept on going. Now I think we’re a little over 5000 followers. But what is? Credible, to me is the number of people who are faithfully following Charlie’s journey, and we got to a point that people are starting to share their experiences with the inspiration they received from Charlie. So at that moment, truly, I got to see how blessed we have been with the miracle of Charlie’s survival and how inspiration her story is to so many people. And her story has the ability to bring people close to God, has the ability to make people to stop for a second and truly reevaluate their lives because put things in perspective, right? We Charlie’s Angels 35 years old and in a blink of a second. Her life was almost taken away by an accident and has been incredible, humbling experience to me to be writing the journal every night. So right now, on average per week, we have about twenty thousand readers of the journals and the number just keep on growing because more people learn about the story. And you know, and now we’re coming to the pretty much end of the first chapter of the Journal, which is the hospital. So we do have an incredible amount of journals in there since about one hundred seventy two days of journals. So each day I write an entry and those journals truly. Now looking back, it is an incredible documentary of our journey, and I can see clearly how faith in God and the power of prayer has transformed me through this journey from fear, into hope, into vulnerability and knowledge of gratitude. So it’s incredible. The power of prayer and faith is incredible, and we’re just so grateful for the incredible amount of love support that we have received from friends community, but also strangers from around the world.
Victoria Rader [00:21:45] Now it’s incredible to me also that I’m catching you on this, like you said, the triumphant finish of chapter one of that story of the hospital. And through this journey, if you had the moment was that was kind of the darkest moment for you. When was that moment and knowing what you know now being the person that you have become? Going back to yourself at that moment, what do you need to hear?
Andre Xavier [00:22:15] So I think one, I feel dark, very dark moments. But the one that I’ll never forget is day three of the accident, the doctors that’s the first time they told me truly how fragile Charley’s state was in terms of infection. I fell a feeling that I have never felt before in my entire life, and today I can see there was despair. Hmm. And the way I describe despair is when he I was unable to see a future without Charlie without my wife. I could not visualize. I cannot think about how I was going to raise my two boys by myself. I could not think and I try for. About 24 hours. That was the one day I truly felt despair, and probably with despair is like it’s one of the worst feelings or emotions. I really can’t describe you can’t have because it’s the opposite of hope, right? It’s truly when you’re in despair, you cannot see a way out. And it is a very scary feeling to have if I could go back on time. I would tell myself, have faith trust in God because he will show you the way I know right now. You can’t see it. But trust me, there is a way. And at that time, I read this incredible quote that I’ve been carrying with us now is called out of the darkness that will be light. And that really resonated with me because truly, I was in darkness at that moment and light came out of darkness. So that was a very dark moment for me because I truly could not envision my life without Charlie and without having heard my side raising our boys are just I couldn’t, and now I know that I was going to be able to do it. But at that moment, it just seemed an impossible thing,
Victoria Rader [00:24:21] you know, as you’re talking. A picture came to mind that is very clear is that that at that moment, what faith does, it doesn’t necessarily gives you ability to see or even ability to walk out of the darkness. But it allows you to trust for God to carry you out and that you have to surrender your weight so completely into the embrace of God that he can carry you out of that darkness. As just was a very visible image that came to me as the process you’re describing that that’s not trusting that all of a sudden you’ll jump up and you’ll say I got this this is just trusting that God’s got you. You know, in a very vulnerable way.
Andre Xavier [00:25:03] So absolutely, you know, you’re right. And you know, we are people of faith. We are religious. We go to mass. Faith is a big part of our lives, right? And that’s one thing I learned on this journey is faith. You have to practice and do not wait until something happens, because if you wait, you will never know the power that God has the power of prayer, the power of faith. If you don’t have it before, right? Because I’m telling you at that moment of desperation, if I do not have my faith, if I do not truly believe that God could help me. I don’t know if I could ever come out of it.
Victoria Rader [00:25:41] Yeah. And it’s so interesting to me as you were sharing this story in the beginning that there were inklings that, you know, the whole podcast is all about the voice to learn, to recognize the inkling because God is going to get us to that point of talking freely one way or the other. Right? But as you were saying, there was a feeling don’t go. And then all of a sudden the car was gone and you will like, bring the car back, you know? And I think you are aware and you’re vulnerable to be sharing it that way. But I think that is such a gift for all of us to know that her story has empowered you to empower others to say, when you have that feeling, don’t justify it. Just say, Look, I don’t know what it is. I just feel it. I just know it, you know?
Andre Xavier [00:26:29] Yeah, absolutely right. That is true. And you know, I’ll be honest, and it took me a while to be able to overcome the guilt
Victoria Rader [00:26:38] Forgiveness.
Andre Xavier [00:26:40] Yeah, because I felt guilt that I do not stop her right. I felt guilt that I had a second chance to bring her back and I didn’t push hard enough. But you know, God, he works in mysterious ways that everyone knows that. But truly, he has a plan. He really does. And we just cannot understand it. Here’s an incredible little story that I heard that really made sense to me, so I don’t know how you’re going to feel about it, but here’s this story. So a lot of times we won’t ask God why? Why this accident happened, right? Why? And the story goes that a little boy had a dog and he had to take this little dog to the vet to get his little leg amputated because was in fact, it goes to the vet. He’s holding the dog and the dog. Look at the kid’s child with beautiful eyes, fearful eyes as like you say, why? Why are you doing that? And the kid look at the dog and tells him, like, you know, Buddy, you have to get this amputation done, but otherwise you’re going to die. But it’s going to help you in the long run. The dog doesn’t understand this kid is human. A dog is a dog. God is not even though for us, God, Jesus is a human, is son of God, but God himself is not human. He can tell us, but we may not understand because we’re not the same. So it takes, you know, acceptance to know that because we’ll never know why it happens. Right? And it’s pointless for me to be questioning God or asking why. But I know there is a purpose. And now, six months later, we’re starting to see that purpose and was saying to see why it happens in the human way that he’s using Charlie’s story to inspire and to bring people back closer to him.
Victoria Rader [00:28:39] I love that. And it’s just that whole thing of asking, What am I learning and and what is the best way to learn that right? What? I just love that. So going forward, 20 years from now, I know you, in fact, will have been huge. So Andre, now Charlie, by your side, come together from 20 years and they’re sitting on both sides of you. And what are they telling you? What do you need to hear today?
Andre Xavier [00:29:03] So they’ll tell us, I know said, Hey, Andre, thank you for having faith. Charlie, you’re amazing. You did it. You push through. You know, thank you for raising incredible children who understand the power of love, understand the power of faith and understand the power of compassion and vulnerability. You have done an incredible job with those kids and most important. We are so grateful that the accident happened because it changed our lives to be much more meaningful. And now we have helped thousands, if not millions, of people to truly appreciate their lives the gift of life without having to go through this tragedy that went through. But just to learn by learning our story, the more moved enough to make changes and get closer to God, start a relationship with God, develop faith, become vulnerable and earn all the amazing gifts that you can earn by becoming vulnerable and having faith need.
Victoria Rader [00:30:16] And I feel that’s a part of your message already. But to kind of wrap it up, then obviously you had such a poignant story that had a lot of turning points and learning lessons. And if there was one thing that you wonder all about the boy’s family to remember you by what would be that one most important message that you have?
Andre Xavier [00:30:37] I’ll see that acceptance of life’s adversity vulnerability when you’re put into the test are powerful tools to use to be able to find the light and faith, no matter how hard adversity is, no matter how impossible the challenge seems to be. We’re giving a humanly possible challenge. God will operate a miracle if you believe. Beautiful. Also, we have the power within ourselves to truly choose light over darkness every time.
Victoria Rader [00:31:17] Well, from your lips to God’s ears. We’re recording this episode on day six of the war in Ukraine. I believe in their call. And so, as I said, from your lips to God’s ears, my friend, thank you so much for your time and for being here with us today.
Andre Xavier [00:31:32] Thank you, Victoria again. Really appreciate your platform. Thank you for giving us opportunities to share the love of God. Thank you. Thank you.