Andre with John Beeson, left, and Marcella Young, middle.

It was a conversation that would further change his life … in a good way.

“I hooked him up with my friend, Fabio Maia, also Brazilian, who works at Loma Linda University Medical Center – one of the nation’s premier rehabilitation programs,” Beeson said.

Andre met Fabio two weeks later and was embraced with new tools to make a world of difference.

This new friendship came with gratis membership on Team PossAbilities – Loma Linda’s fabulous program for re-launching people back into the world via sports.

In another stroke of good fortune, Andre was flown for his prostheses fitting to — of all places — Brazil, where he met many incredible people who wanted to help him. While there, he savored some quality family time.

He soon had customized prostheses for walking and sports, a special wetsuit for swimming, and, coming next — a new racing bike.

“I’m really excited about my new bike!” he says with boyish charm.

By August, he was swimming at SB’s Reef and Run summer beach venue (he placed 2nd in the 1K swim) and recently was the fifth person in his category out of the water in October’s San Diego Triathlon Challenge.

He’s back to surfing (‘I cannot stand all the way up yet but I will soon with my surfing prosthesis’) and people are intrigued at his ability to maneuver the board.

He loves Rincon “and people now give me waves – that’s never happened before,” he grins.

Channel Islands Surfboards is gifting him a new custom-made board (with a little help from his Backyard Bowls amigos).

And just a few weeks ago, another new adventure — he’s back to work in a new kind of customer service position — a desk job. And one with benefits.

Andre is all smiles at work with Office Auto Pilot

The original plan was to start with Office Auto Pilot at the Riviera Park on the Monday after his March accident. They amazingly held the job for him ‘for however long it took’ for him to get back on his, er, way …

“We knew we had to have him here. He’s sooo inspiring and is already doing a great job for us,” says its Controller MacDougall.

Andre is overwhelmed with all the love and kindness — from his family and especially Diego, Backyard Bowls who also delivered daily healthy food, the Shellfish Company (The Boathouse), his new work family, Dane and Jessica Campbell & their friend who flew him to Brazil, Isaac Osborne of Motion Unlimited and Chin (Capoeira Sul Bahia).

He’s one step closer, if you will, towards achieving his dreams …

“I’d love to surf at exotic beaches around the world and can see myself later becoming a motivational speaker to pay for it,” he says.

There’s even talk of becoming a Para-Olympian …

“He could be ‘a force’ in swimming or triathlon,” predicts Beeson.

“The 2016 Games are in my homeland — it would be an honor to represent Brazil in Brazil,” Barbieri claims.

And about his new life…

“It’s actually better now. People stop and talk all the time and I’ve met so many amazing people who want to help me,” says the ever-likeable Andre.

He now knows, lives and breathes that in a moment’s notice – life can be forever changed and so he offers this sage advice….

Keep your faith.

NEVER give up.

And make the most out of your life every day because it is too short.

“I know one day I will be thankful this happened to me,” Andre says.

Until then, he’s got a whole lot of living (and surfing and other stuff) to do….

GO BACK: Page 1 

Pages: 1 2