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Interview With Pat Boone and His Family

Aired December 25, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: exclusive, a Christmas miracle. Pat Boone's grandson Ryan speaks for the first time since an accident put him into a coma 18 months ago. Joining us for an inspirational update on the emotional story we followed from the get-go, Ryan Corbin, rendered comatose by a freak fall through the skylight of his condo in June 2001. Now he's out of the hospital and here in our studio.
Also, Ryan's grandfather, Pat Boone, who never lost faith that Ryan would make it. Ryan's mother and Pat Boone's daughter, Lindy Boone Michaelis; Ryan's sister Jessi Corbin; and Ryan's pastor, Rick Warren. A prayer and the power of the pray in the struggle back from the brink of death next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Boy, it is the holiday season of the year. And what a perfect time to bring this collection of guests together. A story we have followed since its beginning. The guest tonight here in the studio is Ryan Corbin, severely injured in a freak fall in June of 2001. If you missed the story, we'll get you up to date on it.

His grandfather is the renowned entertainer Pat Boone. Linda is his mother. She is Ryan's mother; she is Pat Boone's daughter. Jessi Corbin is Ryan's sister and Rick Warren is Ryan's pastor. He's pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of the largest Christian congregations in the United States. He's author of the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life."

Now, to get you up to date, about 18 months ago, on June 19, 2001, young Ryan suffered a freak fall through the skylight of his condo. He suffered multiple injuries, went into a coma. Pat Boone asked people to pray for him, talked about it on this program, and we last focused on this inspirational story back in August.

And, of course, we have an amazing result, is that Ryan is here with us tonight looking terrific. Now, the doctor said this couldn't happen, right, Pat?

PAT BOONE, ENTERTAINER: Yeah, they gave us no hope. The paramedics, A, thought that he was not even alive, that he was dying when they picked him up. Then the night that -- you know, that night after the accident, they took him to UCLA, of course, and the neurosurgeon came in and said we need to let you know that we'll do everything we can. He's not likely to make it, you know, because of these injuries.

Then after that -- he's got the hiccups. Excuse me. And so then a couple of weeks after that he was in -- deep in a coma, and the doctors brought us into a room and said we just need to let you know that, from our point of view, statistically and medically we don't think he's going to progress beyond a -- what they called sort of a vegetative state. And even said you may give some thought to how long you would want him to stay in that kind of state.

KING: Pulling the plug.

BOONE: So -- yes. So then -- look at him laughing at that. So his dad said, look, we're -- you're the medical team. We're the faith team. Let's work together. And Ryan has -- of course, 18 months later he has far surpassed anything...

KING: How soon after that fall were you on this show?

BOONE: You thankfully invited me to come on just, what, five weeks?

KING: Because he was in a deep coma the first time you were on, right?

BOONE: Oh yeah, completely.

KING: That was when you were praying for him to just come out of a coma.

BOONE: Just to survive. Just to live and maybe come out of his coma. Although, we believed all along that he would recover completely. And that's what we still believe and he is doing it.

KING: Ryan, I know it is hard for you to talk, and we understand that. But if you can acknowledge what I'm asking you, when you were in a coma, do you remember anything while in the coma? Or can you explain to me, Ryan, you can hear what I'm saying, right? Is the response the problem, Lindy?

LINDY BOONE MICHAELIS, RYAN'S MOTHER: Well, he can now answer yes and no. I think he was given some thought. I don't think he remembers being in the coma. We've talked a little about it and it is probably just a fog to him. But he can now communicate pretty well. He can make choices when I offer him what to eat or drink, he'll tell me, and there is an awful lot of communication between us.

KING: So what is the diagnosis of Ryan's current condition right now?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, he's in recovery. Nobody knows with a head injury how far a person...

KING: Will he fully function?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, people don't know. There are stories of people that have come back from incredible injuries like him, but certainly the doctors don't talk about what they think could happen because they don't want to be libel or wrong.

KING: Are they surprised?


KING: Are they surprised?

BOONE MICHAELIS: I think they're very pleased and I think they're surprised.

BOONE: And surprised, yes. In fact, they have given up predicting, Larry, because he's come so far beyond what they expected that they say, well, how can you possibly impose any limits on how far he can come. We believe day by day he shows us more and more. Can you say, thank you, Larry? Say, thank you, Larry.

KING: And he also -- does he Jessi, understand everything being said to him?

JESSI CORBIN, RYAN'S SISTER: Yes. See my interpretation of it is that he understands everything coming in, but there is a big delay in sort of a breakdown getting it out. But he has full memory. Like you ask him anything about his childhood or his friends up until the accident...

KING: He laughs a lot.

CORBIN: Yeah. So I think that it is all there, but the catch right now is just him being able to get it out.

KING: Communicating it out?


KING: I haven't forgotten you, Rick. I'm going to bring you into this topic because faith played obviously a big part in this. What is the prognosis, Pat? What do the doctors say now?

BOONE: Well, as I say, they can't -- they can't predict anymore because he's beyond what they predicted. They just didn't think that he was ever going to come off a ventilator. They didn't think he would be able to speak and communicate.

Never forget when Jessi -- this was a great breakthrough moment which we -- well, we didn't get it on tape. I didn't get my camera working soon enough, if you can believe that. But Jessi put some chocolate pudding on her finger at Mission Hospital. It was I think Labor Day, about that weekend, and -- no, Memorial Day, I mean. I'm getting confused about when it was. Anyway, she put chocolate pudding and she put her finger toward Ryan's mouth and said, "Ryan, yum yum, yum." And Ryan opened his mouth and sucked the chocolate pudding off her finger. And he did it a couple of times. It was first time there had been any real...

CORBIN: That he understood.

BOONE: ... response. And the doctor -- the neurosurgeon the next day said, "He opened his mouth, his tongue came forward, he took it off on purpose?" I said, "Yes." He said, "That is significant."

KING: Is it your belief, Lindy, that Ryan understands everything we're saying here right now?

BOONE MICHAELIS: That's my belief. He has amazing perception.

KING: And he smiled when you said that.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Yes. Those are the kind of signals.

KING: Does he nod? Are you understanding everything being said?


KING: That's amazing. Because the way he looked when I visited your house that time, when I went to that special place with you...


KING: ... you would not have bet on it. So he's eating better, using his voice more often, more expression on his face obviously. He has -- the cognition is improving. How about the balancing?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, I'll explain. We work with him on that, on the mat.

KING: He thinks it is funny.

BOONE: Yeah.

BOONE MICHAELIS: He has best attitude. That's one of the blessings is that he has a very positive attitude. He finds the humor in things, and he's never once acted frustrated or angry about what's happened to him.

So I think that's a significant blessing for us. But he sits on the edge of a mat. We have some handles that he holds on to, and we're working on the balance. And he's gotten to where we can take our hands off and he can correct himself. If he starts to lean, he pulls himself over. So he's gaining function, balance. We work on everything.

KING: Ryan, do you remember falling through the skylight?

BOONE MICHAELIS: He says he does, and doctors say that's impossible. So that's a mystery still to unfold, because every time I ask him, he says he does.

KING: The doctors say that's impossible why?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, people with head injuries that have recovered from them, they never remember impact, car accidents. They might remember right up to driving, but they don't remember the actual impact. Maybe -- they don't believe he would remember much before the trauma even, like maybe a week or something would be gone. KING: Ryan has been getting out and about. We're going to talk about that. We're going to bring our pastor in as well. His thoughts on all of this. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Ryan, it's great to see him with us tonight. You tell me he can spell my name?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Yes. Ryan, will you spell Larry? L-A-R-R-Y. How about King.


KING: I'm hearing it too. He's going to make it.

BOONE: Oh, he's making it. And you know, Larry, when you shook hands with him at (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that day, you were so kind and so wonderful with him, I said to you I was pretty emotional. I said he'll come on this show and he'll thank you himself. He's here and he just thanked you.

KING: He did. How is he getting out and about, Jessi? What's he doing? Is he going to Laker games?

J. CORBIN: Yeah. He's on the celebrity tour right now. He's doing just fine. We also have like a great group of friends that always come and visit or we organize lunches and he'll go out and visit them.

KING: Eating habits OK?

BOONE: That's an ongoing thing. Lindy feeds him and he loves her barbecued beef and stuff like that.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Barbecued beef. He's into that. He can chew and swallow anything. It is not difficult to chew and swallow. It is the endurance. I think he tires of it too soon.

KING: Will he walk?

BOONE: I'm sure he will, Larry. And I mean, different doctors might tell you different things. He is responding. The therapist says, and Lindy too, feeling resistance now in both legs when they push against him. It's a push and they feel him pushing.

KING: Does he take a lot of medication?

BOONE MICHAELIS: He has medication, maybe about five prescription medications.

KING: Daily?

BOONE MICHAELIS: And lots of vitamins.

KING: Does he have anywhere bandages, no attachments to his body, nothing?

BOONE MICHAELIS: A G-tube. He still gets a supplement through the stomach because he's not eating enough calories to be able to...

KING: He can't chew?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Oh, yes. He chews barbecued beef. We don't puree it; he chews it.

KING: Let us bring in the pastor. Ryan, Rick Warren is your pastor. Rick, you're the pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. How long have you known Ryan?

RICK WARREN, PASTOR: Well, I've known the family a long time. Pat actually came and sang at Saddleback Church when we were first starting about 20 years ago. And Lindy now sings in our church, and the family members, and Mike and Lindy lead the 40 days of purpose small group in our church. So they're real active.

KING: Why is it named Saddleback?

WARREN: There is the Saddleback Mountain in Orange County.

KING: So how long have you known Ryan?

WARREN: Oh, since his accident.

KING: So you became the pastor?

WARREN: I became the pastor when the accident happened and we were there when we moved into Mission Hospital and those long hours of coma and that touch and go when things were just -- we were praying through it.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) how did he fell through or why he fell...

BOONE: Well, he had one buddy with him. And, of course, I wasn't there, so I'm not an eyewitness. He had gone up to get some sun on this flat roof of a three-story apartment building and there is a sky light. I'm told it was white plastic, exposed, not protected or marked in any way. And he tripped or stepped on it and fell through this unprotected skylight.

They went up just to get some sun, to lie on towels in the sun, you know? And hit two railings on the way through the floor 40 feet below. So it was a ghastly thing. He's 6'4". And I don't even like to think about what it must have looked like as it happened. But all we know is when the paramedics took him to UCLA...

KING: The first time you saw him he was all wired up?

BOONE: Oh yeah. He had stuff stuck in his head and he looked so angelic and peaceful, but he was really in a fight for and of his life. They gave him 36 pints of blood. Just before his own heart and lungs could kick in and start processing it because of the trauma. So they just didn't -- they're astonished. They really are. Lindy has been taking him back to some of the places that have been so loving and caring, and all the therapists and everybody they just make over -- he's wearing a ring on his left finger that a nurse from India. She had gone back to India.

KING: Can you show it?

BOONE: She brought him a ring.


KING: Hey, you ticked him off.


BOONE: Do we dare show Larry his acting ability?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well sure. Ryan, wake up, OK? You're dozing off. Ryan, look surprised. Look angry. There is his voice. Did you hear his voice?

Look angry. Look sad. Now look happy. Lots of -- just exploration with his facial muscles and he knows it makes us...

BOONE: But instant recognition, instant comprehension, and the desire to do what we ask. So it is just -- a lot of rewiring going on.

KING: Rick, do you think god played a part in this?

WARREN: Oh, no doubt.

KING: The skeptic will now come forward as, why did he let him fall through a skylight?

WARREN: You've had these folks on, Larry, several times, and these are people of faith. And people who have a really strong relationship, not a religion, a relationship to god. These people have a relationship to Jesus Christ. People like that tend to react to pain differently.

You've had them on your program. Lisa Beamer (ph), Heather and Dana (ph) from Afghanistan, Cassie Brenell's (ph) parents. Things like this. And they don't just have a religion. They really have a life, a relationship.

KING: And that means what? That cures or helps?

WARREN: Well, it means a couple of things. You can handle almost anything in life if you know there is a purpose behind it. That's the real key. When there is a purpose behind it -- pain is hard to handle if you don't see any purpose in it. When you understand there is a purpose, then you can handle a lot of stuff.

KING: Jessi, did you question your faith at all when this happened?

J. CORBIN: Well, kind of like I said before, it brought me to that point of faith.

KING: Brought you to the faith?

J. CORBIN: Yeah, it brought me to the faith.

BOONE: She really hadn't made any decisions about what she believed or what she didn't believe.

J. CORBIN: Because how else do you explain this? Like, for me, Ryan's spirit has been nurtured by god since...

BOONE: He was four.

J. CORBIN: Yeah. Like day one. And I was kind of the other kid.

KING: You were running away?

J. CORBIN: Yeah. And we battled for years over this issue. And the only reason why he's here today is because his spirit was nurtured and he has a purpose.


KING: I'm going to go to break, but I want to ask you, Lindy, how long can Ryan stay -- I don't want to make him uncomfortable, so I'll leave it up to you.

BOONE MICHAELIS: I think he's comfortable. Sometimes he'll get a little sleepy. Are you doing OK? Yes. OK. Do you want to stay a little longer?

KING: Do you want to stay a little while longer, Ryan, because I don't want to...

BOONE: Yes, he's a ham.

KING: You're enjoying this, aren't you, Ryan? We'll be right back with Ryan Corbin, Pat Boone, Lindy Boone Michaelis, Jessi Corbin and Pastor Rick Warren. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Just so you understand the family situation, Lindy, you're divorced from Ryan's father, right? And Ryan lives with you?


KING: What kind of nursing does he need?

BOONE MICHAELIS: He still has 24-hour care. We have the most wonderful caregivers. I want to just say thank you, James, Joseph, Don and Fernando. They are just fabulous with Ryan. And they work long and hard.

And they really bonded with him. And so they are always with him except for a couple hours a day. I'm the sole caregiver. But it is a joint effort. It takes my husband, myself and the caregivers to go through all the therapies and run, you know, back and forth to the programs that we...

KING: So any differences that you may have had that might have led to divorce were put aside, right? None of that has even...

BOONE MICHAELIS: That's long ago.

BOONE: And they're both remarried. Michael, her husband, is like a -- literally a second dad. And...

KING: And does he get along well -- did he get along as well with his stepmother?

BOONE: Oh they do.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Oh yes. We all spent Thanksgiving together. We're all close.


BOONE: It's a miracle. They're close friends. I mean they couldn't be closer.

KING: Is everyone a believer?

BOONE: Yeah, everyone. So another huge difference.

KING: Pat, what do you think happened? I know of your belief in prayer. And we heard the pastor talk about your relationship with that. What do you think -- do you think somebody, some person, some spirit heard this and helped him? What do you think happened?

BOONE: Oh, sure. And I don't know whether it was a horrible accident. You know, some have said they think there almost was an invisible spirit attack on Ryan because he is so spiritual and because he does want to share with his generation and has that purpose in his life. We don't know that, but there is one little scripture which I -- this book has so much more meaning to me now than it did before.

But in the letter (ph) of James it says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that god has promised to those who love him."

So, Rick ministers on purpose and we don't think god caused this anymore than he caused Job's afflictions, but he allowed them. He could have stopped it. And that's one of the questions you asked many times, why didn't he stop it? Because he would use this for good. And he has partly through you, largely through you.


BOONE: Yeah, through you.

KING: The agnostic?

BOONE: The agnostic. Like Jessi was.

KING: Ryan, you can answer yes or no. Do you believe god helped you? You do? So even though you still got a long way to go and things have been rough, life could be a lot better, there are a lot of things you want to do you can't do, you still have faith?

BOONE: And you're going to make it all the way, aren't you, pal? Yes you are. Yes you are. Give : yes. : yes, you are. Yes, you are. Give me a kiss. Yes, sir.

WARREN: You know, Larry, there are a lot of people who are watching who are -- who have a Ryan in their life. Somebody who they just -- is he going to make it or not? And I would say to those people, doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs. I decided a long time ago that doubts are meant to be doubted. And beliefs are meant to be believed.

What we do is we do the opposite. We tend to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs. And this family believes their beliefs and we're seeing the results in their lives.

J. CORBIN: But I think you also have to buy into it, free will. Like, Ryan had the free will to choose, you know. And so Ryan understands his purpose on this world and he has the free will to go with it.

KING: An omnipotent power could have prevented the fall.

BOONE: Sure.

KING: Because that fall, by the way, the man made excuse don't work. Man -- free will, nothing free will about a fall. Nobody pushed him.

BOONE: No. But that's like I said about Job. If you read the story of Job in the bible, and the story of Joseph, even the story of Abraham, you read about men, through no fault of their own, entering heaven, undergoing terrible, terrible trials. Particularly Joseph and Job.

And in the case of Job particularly, god allowed it. And Job had friends who came and sat in front of him and said, you know, it is all your fault. You're a bad guy. And Job said no, I'm not. His wife finally said, you know it must be your fault, because all your kids and all your possessions are gone.

Look at you. Broken out in boils, and it is all your fault. And Job kept saying, no, it is not. And though god slaves me, I will trust him. After his faith had been tested, and it may have been nine months, a year, we don't know for sure, of absolute -- of just depravity, I mean, he was at life's lowest ebb, he -- god confronted him.

Job expressed his faith again and then god gave him back double everything that he had had before. Including longevity, kids, possessions, riches, everything. There was a purpose. It was the testing of his faith, and it was the example that the testing showed to so many others.

KING: Could you, Pat, have pulled the plug?

BOONE: I don't think so. I mean, A, I just -- I know too many situations where people volunteered even. That one guy said that the day they were going to pull the plug on his daughter he went in tears. And it was a hot day and he had a popsicle in his hand because it was so hot. And he was standing with tears running down his cheeks and his little daughter opened her eyes and said, "Can I have some, daddy?" The day they were going to pull the plug.

KING: Does Ryan get tired a lot? I notices he dozes? Does he sleep a lot?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, actually, he's on a pretty good schedule, like all of us. He goes to bed around 10:00, probably falls asleep around 10:30, he gets up at 7:00.

KING: He watches television?


KING: Watches sporting events?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Sporting events, funny movies. We get him watching as many funny things as possible because he laughs. And the more he laughs, his diaphragm gets stronger and I hear his voice through the laughter. So I consider that a big win.

BOONE: Besides what you're seeing right here he gets from his granddad, because when either of us sits still for very long, we get...

KING: You doze off. Watch the entire panel go to sleep. We'll be right back with more. And, again, if ever you feel Ryan is uncomfortable, we'll have him off.

We'll be right back with more. We'll re-introduce the panel when we come back. Don't go way.


BOONE MICHAELIS: This is Mark Desmond's little girl. And Mary sings to Ryan all the time and it makes him laugh. Sing along, Ryan.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, Ryan, 11.

BOONE MICHAELIS: One, two, three, count, four, five, six -- good -- seven, eight, nine, 10, 11. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job, Ryan. Relax. Lean forward. Right there.


KING: We're back doing this holiday season.

A very happy night here at LARRY KING LIVE as Ryan Corbin has made it from near death to being on this show. Ryan Corbin, severely injured in a freak fall June 2001.

His grandfather is Pat Boone. His mother is Lindy Boone Michaelis. She is Pat's daughter, Jessi Corbin is Ryan's sister and Rick Warren is Ryan's pastor.

He's pastor of the Saddlebrook Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and he is the author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life." I'll ask him what he means by purpose driven in a little while.

We go back to Ryan, who continues to stand forth and remain with us. We didn't know how long he would stay on set, because obviously this is not very easy to be in the lights and the like. And he seems to be enjoying it a little too much. Stardom has occurred.

BOONE MICHAELIS: There was never a camera Ryan didn't like, right.

KING: So he always...

BOONE: Either in front of or behind the camera. He wanted to be a director. And still does. And he's good with cameras.

KING: Are there signs you're looking for of the pre-fall? Of the old Ryan?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Oh, I see a lot of the old Ryan, don't you, Jessi? His humor, his sweetness is there. His tenderness. His amazing retention of actors and actresses, movie trivia, songs, music. That's my Ryan.

KING: Now, when he was in the hospital, he was in a coma during the first week, blood wasn't coagulating. He was on maximum ventilator support, spleen was removed, was not responsive to any outside stimuli, had four surgeries at UCLA, tracheotomy, surgically -- how are you alive? -- surgically implanted feeding tube, surgery on the sinus cavity, surgery to repair a broken jaw, developed pneumonia, began storming because of brain injuries, would have wild fluctuations in body temperature, respiration and heart rate.

Did you ever think you would lose him? Was there ever a time?

BOONE: No. Honestly, we were concerned but no. I don't think so. I don't think so. I didn't.

KING: Did you, Lindy?

BOONE MICHAELIS: I didn't. I was awfully distraught, but I didn't think he was going to die. I believed from the very beginning God was going to do a miracle in Ryan's life.

And yet it's still very difficult to watch your child go through this. May I share something?

KING: Sure.

BOONE MICHAELIS: There was one night where I was in the ICU and Ryan had a trach and he had just had a feeding tube put in. The feeding tube substance was green, and every now and then green would start dripping down his face, because it was coming up. I'd look around. There wasn't a nurse noticing and have to go find somebody, please, help him.

The trach would pop off when he would cough. His air supply was disconnected and I'd have to look at a nurse and go, can you reattach this?

His bed was an air mattress that was supposed to deflate and shift his body weight, and it was broken and his body was getting all in odd positions. This is all in one night.

And I thought how can I ever leave? Even in the ICU with these nurses caring for him so diligently? And I went home and my heart was breaking and thinking, Lord, extra angels here tonight, please protect him.

And the next morning I was brought to the scriptures and reading about Peter in the boat with the storm going on, the disciples were scared for their lives. And Jesus did a miracle and was walking towards them on the water. And Peter said, Lord, if it's you, let me jump out and come to you. And he says, come. And Peter jumped out of the boat and he could walk on the water until he started looking at the surroundings and the circumstances. And he started to sink.

And Jesus, he saved him. He cried out, Jesus, save me, and he did.

And I was sinking that night when I saw all the circumstances and I felt myself sink and my faith was dropping. But I cried out to the Lord and he saved me and the next morning all those things were gone. Everything was fixed.

KING: Did you think you'd lose him, Jessi?

J. CORBIN: Thanks, Mom. I was more concerned about my family, my other family members, than I was about Ryan. And I don't know why. I always -- because I know him. And it's, again, like I said before, I know his heart and I know his spirit and I knew that he would fight tooth and nail.

I was more worried about my mother, about my dad, about my other family members for some reason. But with him, I always felt pretty confident.

KING: Rick, how you to minister to someone who has difficulty communicating back? I mean, obviously we get some expressions and we have some whispers but...

WARREN: Right.

KING: He's not your typical celebrant.

WARREN: Yes. Well, you can whisper back and forth to Ryan. And of course, he hears everything I say. It's just I can't hear everything he says. So it's not like he's not catching it; he's getting it.

BOONE: But Lindy brings him to the services. They have a Saturday night service.

WARREN: He's singing in the services. Singing in the services.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, he learns the songs. He can learn just like that. And he's been learning the songs in the service.

Also when I'm -- Rick has an outline with blanks to fill in. And whenever there's a blank to fill in, I ask Ryan to spell it for me and he does. He's paying attention the whole, entire service.

KING: Is this all covered by insurance, Pat? You have to deal with the realities of life?


BOONE: No, not all. No, not by a long shot. I mean...

KING: But you could have -- you were well established.

BOONE: Well, yes, we've been able to come to the party, thank God, you know. We've been able to handle things, and the insurance companies have, of course, done some. And there's some ongoing negotiations about just how much more they're going to do.

KING: If this happened to a very poor person...

BOONE: And yet I've talked -- I've talked to some people who had nothing, had no insurance. They had no hospitalization, had things like this.

One guy flew into the side of a mountain, he's a pilot. His mom told me after Ryan had been hurt about six or seven months, she said, don't give up because I had nothing. I bought my son home, he was just a vegetable. Today, she said, he's going to meet in front of the board to try to get his pilot's license back. He's virtually recovered.

But she'd had to take care of him at home. And without the hospital and without, you know, a lot of the care.

KING: if you were -- if this happened to someone who was penniless, a homeless person falls through a sky light, not going to get this.

BOONE: Well, no, you're not going to get the kind of care Ryan has had. No, that's for sure.

KING: Life ain't fair.

BOONE: No, it's not fair in that way and yet, you hear about the people who didn't get the kind of help he got...

KING: And still make it.

BOONE: And you know, God's not limited by what he can do.

Ryan, you want to sing?


KING: We'll be right back with more of Ryan Corbin live right after this.


J. CORBIN: Which one are you trying for? You want -- which one do you want? Oh, you want song lyrics. OK.

Come on. Three.

R. CORBIN: Three.

J. CORBIN: Three. It's worth three points. All right. Mom's going to sing it and you finish the song lyrics. Ready?



J. CORBIN: What?

R. CORBIN: Blast.



J. CORBIN: Good. Three points.


J. CORBIN: Three points for Ryan. Tied up with Mom.




R. CORBIN: Well, we're at the French Riviera in Nice. It's July 11. And what can I say? It's nice. It's very nice in Nice.


KING: We're back. Rick Warren, what do you mean by purpose driven life?

WARREN: Well, Larry...

KING: And how does it apply here?

WARREN: Everybody's life is driven by something.

If you look up the word "drive" in the dictionary, it says to guide, or to control or to direct. You drive a golf ball, you drive a car, you drive a hammer, a nail in the hammer.

To guide -- everybody's life is guided or controlled or directed by something. Most people's lives are driven by their past. They're haunted by the past.

KING: All we have is our pasts.

WARREN: Well, no...

KING: We don't have tomorrow.

WARREN: Well, we have today. Many people are driven by fear. Many are driven by guilt, resentment, bitterness, the approval of others.

And yet I believe that the Bible teaches God put us on earth for five specific reasons that he wants us to be driven by those purposes.

You see, the question you asked earlier about could God have stopped this? Well, of course, he could have stopped it. Now the number one question I get asked as a pastor is, why is this happening to me? You know, why is this happening to me? And it's a legitimate question. But I would say a couple things about that question why.

In the first place, God doesn't owe us an explanation. God is God, and we're not. In fact, if I knew everything that God did, I'd be God. And so my brain capacity cannot handle why a lot of things happen.

But more than that, finding the answer to why is not satisfactory, because I found a lot of people have got an explanation for why things happen. It was my fault or it was the evil of somebody else or something. Doesn't matter.

What really matters is the questions, how and what. What can I learn from this? And how can I grow from it?

KING: What have you learned from this, Jessi? What have you learned from this experience?

J. CORBIN: That in times like this, you do absolutely have to fall back on something bigger, because if you try to fall back on yourself you're going to end up on your butt. And that's what happened to me about midway and that's when I really got serious about finding my faith. Because I was absolutely empty and void and had nothing left.

KING: What did you learn, Lindy?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Oh, gosh. I asked God immediately, teach me. I've been learning so much, it's hard to capsulize it. But I..

Oh, I was just reading in Romans, I won't pull it out, but if God is for you, who can be against you? I've really learned that. And to be able to look at a circumstance like what we've been going through and know we're not going through this alone. He never leaves us alone. And there's always going to be overcoming involved with the Lord. That's what I've learned.

KING: So this is a happy Christmas time for you?

BOONE: Oh, last Christmas was a little bleak, you know? Thanksgiving was, too. Just because he still had so far to come and because he wasn't able to communicate. But now...

KING: What do you think about the argument about home care versus care at a center?

BOONE MICHAELIS: Well, I believe that Ryan was able to thrive at home better than he would have at a center, but that's because we have a lot of help. We have a very supportive family.

KING: Did you ever consider having him in a center?

BOONE MICHAELIS: It was never an option I wanted to take. I wanted him home immediately, as soon as we could set it up so it was as safe as a hospital.

I didn't want to bring him home and jeopardize his recovery, but as soon as I knew that we could modify our house, have the people in place, have therapy coming to our house. It took us awhile to get there and it took him awhile to get stable enough to be able to do it.

KING: I'm going to take a break, come back with our remaining moments. I'll ask the pastor the question we all ask, why bad things happen to good people. Don't go away.


BOONE MICHAELIS: I believe I could fly. I believe I can touch the -- what?


BOONE MICHAELIS: Sky. I think about it every night and...


BOONE MICHAELIS: Day. Spread my wings and fly...

R. CORBIN: Away.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Away. Very good.






KING: We're back with our remaining moments as Ryan is doing all the reactions of smiling, happy, you're driving him nuts.

OK. Why do bad things happen to good people, Rick?

WARREN: Well, Larry, I don't know that anybody could fully answer that question. I think nobody knows all the answers. If I did know that, I'd be God.

But I do know this. That God's more interested in my character than he is in my comfort. And the Bible teaches that you were -- all of us were made to last forever, that this life is not all there is. That we're going to spend more on the other side of death than on this side, that we're...

KING: A good thing to keep you going.

WARREN: Absolutely. Well, Pat read it in the verse he read. He said it's because I look forward to where I'm going.

And so the Bible teaches if people say, what's the meaning of life? Well, I'll tell you in three words, preparation for eternity. The Bible says that you're going to spend 60, 80, 90 years here on earth but trillions of years in eternity.

And so on earth, we practice what we're going to do forever in eternity. And one of those things is grow in character. And so while not all things are good, that's real clear, God specializes in bringing good out of bad. Anybody can bring good out of good.

KING: I'm going to cover a couple of other bases. You got together with Shaquille O'Neal, right? We mentioned that.

WARREN: Yes. He and Kobe and Derek and ...

KING: Lakers.

WARREN: All the Lakers were...

KING: Where did this happen?

WARREN: He went to the -- Lindy took him to the El Segundo training facility.

KING: How did it work out?

WARREN: Rick Fox had actually arranged for him to come to a Laker game. And we were up in the handicapped section.

KING: Were you always a Laker fan?


BOONE: Oh, yes.


BOONE: And is an athlete himself. And you know, we're hoping very much to get soon with Christopher Reeves somehow. We don't know how it will happen. But I would love to -- Well, it would be great to compare notes. But he's on the east coast and we're here...

KING: Different types, totally different type of illness.

BOONE: It is. But we've seen the progress that Chris is making -- Christopher with his fingers starting to move and get him in water. When he's weightless, he can put one foot in front of the other and so he is -- his indomitable spirit and his refusal to give in to it is helping him a lot.

And I think they would encourage each other. So does Lindy.

KING: And you've got a song on the billboard charts, "Under God."

BOONE: Yes. Ahead of Ja Rule and...

KING: You're on that list?

BOONE: Yes, right back into the top 15 already and top ten. And it's a song in response to the atheist who tried to take "under God" out of the pledge of allegiance. And I take umbrage at that and so did 99 percent of Americans. We've been saying it since -- In fact, he can say -- I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

R. CORBIN: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

BOONE: That's right.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Thumbs up on that. Thumbs up. Yes.

KING: does he get better every day?

BOONE: Every day he shows us something else.

When we're not with him, Shirley calls every night, OK, Lindy, what happened today?

BOONE MICHAELIS: She's taking notes from me. The other day -- One of my favorite things to tell lately is I put his arm around me for a hug and I got into his ear and I go -- because every time he would hug me, he'd do that in my ear. Ryan, when am I going to hear that again? And he goes, pretty soon, Mom.

KING: Jessi, did you and your brother fight a lot, as kids?

J. CORBIN: Yes. Up until, I think, puberty for Ryan, yes, I used to be able to own him. And then he shot up.

KING: Are you older? Are you older?

J. CORBIN: I'm younger.

BOONE: But she used to outrun him, you know? He's the athlete. But I've got videotape, of course, of them running. And she was all- state in high school.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Cross country runner.

BOONE: Actually, right, cross country runner.

KING: I would gather, Rick, this family helps you.

WARREN: Of course. We draw strength from each other. You know, one of the questions people say when there is a tragedy is where is God in all of this? I'll tell you where he is, he's in his people. Thousands of people rallied around this family.

BOONE: Yes, millions.

WARREN: Millions.

BOONE: Through you, Larry.

WARREN: Through you, exactly. And where is God in a tragedy? He is in the godly people around them.

KING: We know from the reaction that the millions of people, not just in the United States, but we're seen live around the world, responded to him.

WARREN: Yes. KING: And you believe that that mattered.

WARREN: God was showing up in people's lives.

KING: Give me a prediction. It's next holiday season and Ryan returns, what will he be doing?

J. CORBIN: OK. I will bet that he will be vocalizing. So he'll be able to answer you and you'll be able to hear him.

I will bet that he will have much more motor control, fine motor movement in his arms.

And hopefully we have a little bit more force going in the legs. That is a conservative.

BONNE: That is conservative.

BOONE MICHAELIS: And get his g-tube out and he's going to eat all his own food. Ryan, who's getting better?

KING: Wait a minute. He likes getting fed.

BOONE MICHAELIS: Did you see what he said, though? I said, who's getting better?

R. CORBIN: I am.

BOONE MICHAELIS: I am. Who loves you, baby? Who loves you, baby? Yes. And how much? A lot. That's true.

KING: What do you think we'll see in a year, Pat?

BOONE: I believe he's going to be walking, talking and then maybe some -- maybe eating on his own.

KING: He took a deep breath there. He wonders about that.

BOONE: Apart from any tube. I believe -- I think he'll be...

BOONE MICHAELIS: He doesn't wonder.

BOONE: I missed my prediction much, you know. He's sitting here talking to you now and next -- by this time next year I think he'll walk in on his own steam.

KING: Thank you, all, very much.


KING: Welcome back, Ryan.

BOONE: And thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you. Ryan Corbin, Pat Boone, Lindy Boone Michaelis, Jessi Corbin and Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven life." Thanks very much for joining us.

Hope you got a lot out of this program. Stay tuned for "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown. I'm Larry King. Good night.


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