The Miraculous Recovery of Ryan Corbin, eldest grandson of Pat and Shirley Boone, and son of their daughter, Lindy Boone Michaelis
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
LA MIRADA, CA (ANS – August 18, 2017) – June 19, 2001, was the worst day in the life of Lindy Boone Michaelis, daughter of music icon, Pat Boone, and his wife, Shirley, for it was then that her son Ryan Corbin, suffered terrible injuries when he accidentally crashed through his Brentwood, California, apartment building’s skylight and plunged 40 feet to the concrete floor.
The 6 feet 4 inches young man with the handsome looks of a Hollywood model, fractured his skull, broke his jaw, and ruptured his spleen, and as paramedics arrived, Corbin, then 25, had stopped breathing.
To make things worse for Lindy, the second of four daughters of Pat and Shirley Boone, was that she was thousands of miles away, when she heard the terrible news.
In an interview at a special ageing conference on Friday, August 11, 2017 at Biola University in La Mirada, California, at which her 83-year-old father, and sister Debby, 60, both sang and spoke an event staged as part the Season of Life conference series (http://seasonoflife.net/) founded by well-known gerontologist, Di Patterson, Lindy spoke about what occurred.
“I was in Spain on vacation and I got a call from my sister Debby, letting me know that Ryan had fallen through the skylight and was in a bad state,” she said. “So we had this horrific kind of travel 24 hours to get home to be with him at the hospital. When I arrived, he was in a coma and he stayed like that for at least four months.
“People think that when you’re in a coma, you then wake up, but that’s not typically the case. More often, or at least equally as often, it’s an emerging process. So the doctor’s considered him in a coma for four months, but after they considered him out of the coma. He still couldn’t talk or do anything on command, so it was hard to tell the difference. Still, he could track with his eyes.”
Did it seem as if there was no hope for his recovery?
“Well the doctors wouldn’t say, and so we just kind of stayed in limbo for a very long time. But he started to evolve with some words and we knew he was ‘in there’ and then he started to take bites of food and eventually, he started to smile.”
Over the course of the first week in the Intensive Care Unit, it looked as if Lindy was going to lose him. He was in a deep coma, his blood was not coagulating, he was on maximum ventilator support, he had to have his spleen removed, and he was unresponsive to outside stimulation. For the Boone family, it was the toughest week of their lives.
For weeks, his blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature were very unstable. In addition to having his spleen removed, he had four surgeries performed while at UCLA Medical Center — a tracheostomy, a surgically implanted feeding tube, surgery on his sinus cavity, and surgery to repair his jaw which was fractured in two places and broken in two other places. To make matters worse, Ryan developed pneumonia and began “storming” a result of his brain injury whereby he would sweat profusely, grind his teeth, have wild fluctuations in his body temperature, become very rigid in his upper extremities, and experience a very rapid heartbeat and respiratory rate. Each day tested the Boone and Corbin family’s faith in ways it had never been tested before.
When I first learned of Ryan Corbin’s accident from Pat Boone, I immediately put out a series of stories on ANS and asked our readers to pray for him. I also interviewed Pat and Lindy for my radio and TV programs. TV personality, Larry King, also got involved when he helped to launch a campaign in which he asked viewers to his “Larry King Live” show to also pray for Ryan, and would carry interviews with members of the Boone family about his progress.
At Pat Boone’s 80th birthday party, I was able to interview Larry King and asked him why, he as a Jewish atheist, he had got behind this Christian family, and I later mentioned that to Lindy.
“He’s more of an agnostic, than a devout atheist,” she explained. “He’s more open-minded, and he’s seen the power of prayer and he knows a lot of good people who believe in prayer. So I think he is a tender-hearted man who saw what happened to a friend, my dad, and that his grandson was in dire need of all the help he could get, and so he let us go on his show and appeal to the world for prayer for Ryan. That was a lovely, lovely thing he did.”
Lindy also shared the story in her book, Heaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked the World to Pray for His Grandson’s Survival.
“I’ve chronicled it all in my book; how these milestones happened; and the joy was indescribable,” Lindy continued. “And we have just continued to work. Ryan now lives with us. He speaks and he laughs and he sings, and he can read, and we’re in therapy with him all of the time.
“He’s still in a wheelchair. He has some behavior issues from the brain injury and we continue to pray diligently about his situation, but his vocabulary is amazing, as is his understanding. He just lives in the present moment. Very often with a brain injury the short term memory is affected.”
Lindy has now launched “Ryan’s Reach” — https://www.ryansreach.com/ — a non-profit foundation which aids brain injured individuals and their families.
“We mostly helped a lot of people continue to get therapy by giving them scholarship money to attend ‘The High Hopes Head Injury Program ‘– http://www.highhopes.ws/. But, most recently, we have opened a group home for brain injured people. We have four fulltime residents in Tustin, and they’re able to live together instead of individually being placed into a nursing home for the elderly, and that’s more conducive to their own recovery.
“And we also offer respite care for families that just need a little break. So we have two beds where we can offer a short stay in our home, so they can maybe go on a vacation, or visit another family member or something like that.”
Lindy then explained what she has learned from her son. “I have learned from Ryan, and maybe through other avenues, that the way to live through something like this, is to stay present in the moment, and not live in the what if’s — what could have happened — but just ask God, ‘What do you have for me today?’
“I’m very much a believer in miracle healing, and I know that God can intervene at any time He wants to, and I speak ‘life’ over Ryan. I believe in the power of our words; but I’m also very receptive to the fact that God’s timing isn’t always our timing and He is sovereign and so I live in that acceptance. My practice is to accept what I am given today, and trust that God wants my good and also wants Ryan’s good.
“Ryan’s soul is well and so his physical disability and his mental shortcomings are very much in our time frame. God lives outside of time. And in a very real way, Ryan, the eternal citizen of heaven, is already in the Kingdom of Heaven in his perfect state. This is how I reconcile how I’m living with my son who hasn’t been fully manifesting a full healing, but I believe it really has happened in the realm of the kingdom of God and he is well.”
I then asked Lindy to share a word to people who are going through difficult times, and she said, “Well, rather than resist it I encourage people to lean in, to press in, to throw themselves into God’s arms and God is waiting there to wrap his arms around you. This has been my experience. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel pain, it doesn’t mean you don’t shed tears, and it doesn’t mean you don’t feel all the emotions He created us to feel when there’s a sense of loss and the unknown.
“But when you absolutely abandon yourself to trusting God in the middle of your heartbreak, amazing things will happen and you will be able to observe and witness and notice how God does show up. And it’s not always in the way that we are wishing and hoping, but He does go through it with you and that’s been my experience.”
I concluded by asking if she misses the old days of The Boone Family Singers, and she said, “I do when I get to see an old tape or video I go, ‘Wow that was fun.’ I love singing with my sisters and I got to sing with them this year a couple of times at our golf tournament for Ryan’s Reach and then also on vacation, when we get to go sing at a health spa, and get to have a vacation together. It happens very rarely now, and I’m grateful for those few times we still enjoy singing I think we still sound pretty good together.”
Lindy also occasionally sings with The Chordettes, who had two smash hits, Lollipop and Mr. Sandman.
“I am still with them, but we’re doing fewer dates than we used to, but any time they call me, I come,” she laughed. “I enjoy singing the old songs, but mostly I enjoy singing with those women because it reminds me of singing with my sisters.”
With that, Lindy was off to see her dad talk about his life at the event and sing his hit from 60 years ago, “Love Letters in the Sand,” and also Debby, do the same as she performed her big hit, “You Light Up My Life.”
And that is something that Lindy says had happened to her with her time with her son, Ryan Corbin, as he continues to make progress from something that almost took his life. He certainly “lights up” her life, and all who come in contact with him.
Note: I’d like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Photo captions. 1) Ryan before his accident. 2) Barely alive – Ryan Corbin in the hospital. 3) Lindy with her son, Ryan Corbin. 4) Dan Wooding interviewing Lindy at Biola University. 5) Pat and Shirley Boone with Ryan Corbin at Pat’s 80th birthday party. (Photo: Dan Wooding). 5) The Boone Family Singers. 7) Dan Wooding with Pat Boone, at a golf tournament for Ryan’s Reach.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs and also a weekly radio show. Dan’s most recent honor was a top humanitarian award at a film festival in Beverly Hills, California, for his long-standing reporting on persecuted Christians around the world. It was presented to him by his son, Peter Wooding, who also read out a letter of support for Dan receiving the special honor that was written by Pat Boone.
You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (https://www.assistnews.net/). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website and signing up there.