Special Heart: Bret Baier's Book About His Son To Fund Pediatric Heart Research
For nearly a decade, former National Security and Chief White House Correspondent, Bret Baier, has reported on election campaigns, presidential activities, military and security affairs, as well as defense, policy, and intelligence from Washington and the Pentagon. Several are the feathers in his reporter cap: he has secured numerous sit-down interviews with government officials, prime ministers, and newsmakers. Absolutely memorable his exclusive interviews with President Obama in the week leading up to the historic healthcare vote in the House of Representatives (March 2010), and with General Petraeus in his final days as Head of U-S Operations, live from Iraq (September 2008). Now Chief Political Anchor for Fox News Channel, he is the face of the number one news program on cable television (“Special Report With Bret Baier“): famous for his expertise with news reading and interviewing skills, hard work and professionalism, he earned a vast and loyal audience around the world, drawing two million viewers every night for his shows.
As a correspondent who covered wars and civil unrest up-to-the-minute, reporting live from Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times since 2001, Baier certainly knows something about thorny, adrenaline-spiking, and life-threatening situations, but if you ask him what was the most frightening and momentous experience of his life, his answer will be: caring for his critically ill newborn son.
Baier’s first child, Paul, was born in 2007 with a clean bill of health. Blessed with an “uneventful” pregnancy, Bret’s wife, Amy, gave birth to a perfectly (or seemingly so) healthy baby, but the happy couple’s world turned upside down on its axis in matter of hours: the day after his birth, Paul appeared suspiciously pale and, after the possibility of a bacterial infection had been out-ruled, an ECG revealed that the infant had five serious congenital heart defects. They had never been detected during Amy’s prenatal screenings. Paul’s heart had two holes, his pulmonary artery was too narrow, his aorta was pinched, his main arteries were switched around with a consequent lack of oxygen in his blood – a death sentence that could only be reversed with emergency surgery. Bret’s and Amy’s child was only twelve days old when he underwent an eight-hour open-heart surgery, the first of a long list of procedures the staff of the Children’s National Medical Center had to perform in order to save his precious life. Today, Paul Baier is still under cure, but he is a very active and growing six-year-old boy.
In his new book, Special Heart, published on June 3 by Center Street, Bret Baier chronicles his son’s amazing life journey through three open-heart surgeries, seven angioplasties, and a remarkable medical recovery. Baier’s hope-filled memoirs offer an inspirational insight into the behind-the-scene story of a prominent anchorman and his family, during the most heart-wrenching experience any parent can ever face. Told in the fine and loving voice of a seasoned reporter and father, Special Heart: A Journey Of Faith, Hope, Courage And Love exposes the physical and emotional scars left by the devastating diagnosis, while celebrating the triumph of unconditional love, undying hope, and the medical advancements in the treatment of congenial heart diseases.
“We are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds from the book to various non-profit pediatric heart causes so that we can help other families dealing with congenital heart diseases”, the Fox News reporter announced. Together with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the U.S. and his wife Abeer, Amy and Bret Baier chaired the 8th Annual Children’s Ball last April, in support of the Children National Medical Center. The event raised an unprecedented level of donations (over ten million dollars) that will directly fund pediatric care and research, improving the health of children in the Washington area and around the world. The hospital, in fact, serves the DC area as well as the United States and beyond, taking care of more than 270,000 patients annually and providing more than fifty million dollars in uncompensated care each year.
“Amy and I were proud to partner with the Ambassador and Abeer on this special event for a cause that we care deeply about. The funds raised through the Children’s Ball will help children like ours, and will impact the health of children in the United States and around the world.” The Children’s National is very important to the Baier family, as their son Paul received life saving care for his congenital heart defects. Next October, Bret, Amy, and their two boys, Paul and Daniel, will participate in the Race For Every Child 5K, in support of the Children’s National: if you live in the DC area, please join the Baier family’s fundraising effort, starting your own team.
In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Baier confessed how coping with each heart procedure never got easier over the years. “Every time we go in and have to hand him over and they knock him out and we watch him roll away — that’s fear to the nth degree. Every time.” “You’d never know he had a heart condition by watching him on the playground”, continued the political anchorman. “He’s the tallest kid in his class and he’s running and jumping and climbing…he might need another open-heart surgery in 6 to 8 years and, if we’re lucky, that will be his last one.”
When asked how his son’s health has changed his perspective on work-life balance, the Fox News reporter answered, “The silver lining to something as horrible as this is that we found a cause for our charity work and it also gives me perspective as a person and as an anchor. I can be up here on Capitol Hill with the back-and-forth and two parties at each other’s throats and I come at it from a different place than I did before.”
Please click here to purchase Bret’s book and fund pediatric heart research!