TODAY | May 01, 2013
>> reporter: but the boone 's faith was put to the test. 12 years ago when pat's grandson ryan suffered a horrific fall that nearly claimed his life. and it's that story, that personal challenge, that's recounted in the new book "heaven hears" written by ryan 's mother, lindy boone , as she's here with her dad pat and sister d debby. you're in vacation in spain and ryan falls 40 feet off the roof of his condo. how injured was he?
>> he very nearly died. he wasn't expected to live. he was going to get sun, went to the skylight and fell 40 stories below on concrete.
>> you broke the news?
>> lindy called me and i was given the task to find my mother in spain and let her know she needed to get on a plane and come back and be here for ryan . yes, that was a daunting task.
>> pat, your family is known for your faith. a good friend of yours, larry king knew about that. he made you an offer after this happened. he said, come on the show, talk about what happened but also let's ask for prayers.
>> did you have any second thoughts about doing that? it was a pretty raw time for your family.
>> no, no, we wanted everybody anywhere to pray with us. larry, which was so great, calls himself an agnostic. he says, i wish hi a faith like yours but for this jewish kid from brooklyn, it's never connected but would you like to come on and ask people to come on and ask for prayers? he had 50 million viewers.
>> boy, after that show aired, you were inundated with letters and prayers from people everywhere.
>> oh, everywhere.
>> you truly believe, and this is partly what this book is about, that it was those prayers that were answered.
>> definitely. i mean, we relied heavily on prayer. when i was in spain , i was so grateful for the gift of prayer. i couldn't get to my son for 24 hours . so, the prayer was vital.
>> and, again, being deeply religious people, a lot of people would question their faith after an accident like the one ryan went through. pat, i was very interested the way you put it. you said this, you didn't think that god caused this to happen. you think he allowed it to happen.
>> and i wonder what you mean by that.
>> well, he doesn't prevent our -- the consequences of our decisions. you know, ryan and his buddy went up on the roof to get some sun. there was a skylight. it was not marked. it wasn't guarded. people knew it was there. he must have tripped in some way and fallen through. there are consequences to actions. but god says, i'll go through it with you. he did not even prevent his own son's death because there was a purpose in it.
>> how is ryan doing today, most importantly?
>> so much better than anybody had ever predicted. he is happy, he talks, he eats, he is getting better in his movements all the time, more and more cognitive, reads.
>> he's funny.
>> he's funny. makes us laugh.
>> and there's a part of this story that will get some headlines because this is the boone family, after all.
>> the wholesome boone family, the religious boone family, and there's a part of his recovery that relies on medical marijuana .
>> i'm very grateful that this is available legally for ryan right now. he has very strong aggressive reaction, if he sees a man he doesn't know. it's very involuntary. it's not the rational part of his brain.
>> like tourette's.
>> it's a fight or flight part of the brain. and he's threatened with men. we were limited where we could go. he's great with our family, men in our family. but when i'm able to give him a little bit of brownie, chocolate, something that calms his anxiety, we can go to church.
>> and quickly, debby, i know all this focus was on ryan and his recovery, put a lot of stress on this family.
>> well, yes, it did, but it also brought us together in the ways that families, i think, are the strongest. you know, we -- we united. we supported each other. and there was something so incredibly beautiful about it. it strengthened rather than tore us apart. i think it made us a lot stronger. my sister has become my hero in the way she's been ryan 's greatest advocate and her courage.
>> i think a lot of people will find inspiration in the book, called "heaven hear".
>> wonderfully written book.
>> thank you for sharing your story and give ryan our best. you can read an excerpt from this book on our website, that's today.com. let's