Burn survivor celebrates being home for the holidays and sets impressive resolutions for the new year

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 4:32 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It’s been a long road of recovery for Charlie Anne Xavier, but the Albemarle County mother got to be home Christmas this year. This comes after spending months isolated in the ICU, fighting for her life.

“Being here is the most wonderful gift of all, because I’m here and I get to watch my babies grow, so that’s the most important and the best miracle of all,” Charlie said.

Last year, her holidays were spent in the ICU after 85% of her body was burned in a tragic accident in September of 2021. She beat the odds and made sure this year would be different.

“I was fighting for my life, fighting infections and having to go in for surgery day after day,” Charlie said.

Only her husband André could see her, as her children were not allowed in the ICU with her. Charlie settled for videos and photos of her kids opening presents, just thankful she was alive.

“I was going back and forth to the hospital. So truly, there was not that sense of traditional Christmas of being home,” André said.

Charlie is home this time around, doing what doctors said she might never do.

“Prior to the accident, I just didn’t sit down, I just kept going, and this year I do have limitations that I’m still trying to learn how to deal with it,” Charlie said. “When it came to cooking, baking all the cookies, it took about five hours, but I was in the kitchen. I took breaks while the dough chilled and I baked cookies and I filled tins and I took them to the neighbor’s like in the years past, so I figured out a way to do it and I’ve learned to adapt.”

She says she puts in that extra effort for her two little boys. This Christmas Eve, she gathered the physical strength to go upstairs for the first time since her accident, surprising her sons with a holiday miracle.

“It’s just sort of like it took a barrier down and it just made room for just lots of love and hugs and kisses,” Charlie said.

Charlie is not stopping there, and as the time to make New Year’s resolutions comes, the Xaviers have their goals set high.

“I am terrified of hitting a plateau, so I’m always trying to think of different ways that I can progress in my therapy,” Charlie said. “I’m already thinking months from now and getting my freedom back and being the mom that can drive and drop her kids off to after school activities and to go on play date.”

Charlie is getting in the driver’s seat in 2023, and her husband thinks she can do it in just a few months.

“She’s able to find a way to do things, and truly, that’s so inspiring to me. It’s also the key to her progress,” André said.

Together, the two say they are grateful for the miracles they saw in 2022, so they want to give back in the new year. The Xaviers are partnering with the Phoenix Society, a non-profit for people impacted by burns. Charlie is training to be a mentor for other burn survivors. She says her mentor made a huge impact on her recovery and gave her hope in the process. Now, she wants to be that figure for others.

“Just let them know, keep fighting, keep going. It’s worth it in the end. It’s hard work now, but it will all be worth it,” Charlie said. “I want to get a little bit of normalcy back to my life and be that mom again that I was.”

André wrote an e-book for the Phoenix Society to help caregivers in tragic situations. He says it is free online.

Charlie says another one of her resolutions is to give back to mothers and families in need, who may have lost items or parts of their lives in house fires over the holidays. She wants to use her support group, who helped her through her own hard times, to better the rest of the community now, too.

2022 was a year of resiliency for Charlie, and she’s making sure those strides continue in 2023.

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