André Barbieri identifies as an athlete. He surfs, he bikes, he snowboards, he hikes. At least, he used to.
During his most recent trip to Mammoth Mountain on March 11, Barbieri fell victim to a snowboarding accident that culminated in the amputation of his left leg. Barbieri suffered a compound fracture to his femur that severed his femoral artery, tore the nerves and veins in his leg, and he nearly died after losing a lot of blood. “It was just a leg, so I’m very lucky,” said Barbieri, who was not wearing a helmet during his accident.
After spending two weeks in the hospital where he underwent a total of four surgeries, Barbieri is back at home in Santa Barbara and enjoying a slow but steady recovery.
Despite his loss, the 30-year-old Brazil native remains optimistic that current prosthetics and sports technology will enable him to lead a normal life again and continue his sporting pursuits. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do sports at the same level,” he said. “If I won’t be able to, at least I’ll be doing it — and that’s enough for me.”
Barbieri, who is without health insurance, understands this kind of advanced technology may not be financially accessible to him for some time. But with the aid of recent community efforts, he may not have to wait long.
Members of the Santa Barbara community have taken it upon themselves to help Barbieri fund the financial repercussions of his accident. Family and friends have set up PayPal accounts for online donations, businesses are holding fundraisers in Barbieri’s name, and even strangers are contributing to his cause.
Barbieri, for one, is moved by the support the community has shown him. “It’s really touching,” he said, singling out in particular his appreciation of efforts put on by his former employer, The Boathouse restaurant.
Even more than monetary donations, Barbieri is truly grateful for the love and support he has received from his friends and family. “I have all these friends who I never knew how good they were until this happened,” he said. “They’ve been amazing.” Barbieri’s main source of support throughout this whole ordeal has been his older brother Diego, who was in Mammoth with Barbieri during his accident and who has stayed with him through his recovery.
To all who have helped Barbieri in his time of need, he expresses deep gratitude: “There are no words to say thank you enough.”
To contribute to Barbieri’s cause, visit andrebarbieri.com or the Shellfish Company’s Web site at sbfishhouse.com. Upcoming fundraisers to support Barbieri include a wine tasting event at Vino Divino on April 8 from 5-7 p.m., Tips for André Day at all three restaurants in the Shellfish Company (The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, the Santa Barbara Fishouse, and the Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.) on April 12 all day, and fundraisers at Backyard Bowls the weekend of April 23.