Bret Baier coming to Atlanta for book signing August 23

Bret Baier is going to speak and sign his book about his son's heart condition ordeal at the All Pro Dad event August 23 at the Greater Atlanta Christian School as part of a slate of speakers. CREDIT: Fox News
Caption
Bret Baier is going to speak and sign his book about his son's heart condition ordeal at the All Pro Dad event August 23 at the Greater Atlanta Christian School as part of a slate of speakers. CREDIT: Fox News

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Caption
Baier's book came out June 3, 2014.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Baier's book came out June 3, 2014.
Caption
Baier's book came out June 3, 2014.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Until 2007, former Atlanta resident and Fox News anchor Bret Baier's personal life was hardly fodder for headlines, much less a book.

And everything seemed just peachy in 2007 when he and his wife Amy had their first child Paul - until a nurse noticed their son's color was a little off.

Then the news got much worse. A doctor gave them this shocking news: "Your son has a complex heart disease. He has a very complicated heart."

Baier, a Marist graduate who was Fox News' first Atlanta correspondent in 1998, turned this potentially tragic story into a story of hope called "Special Heart," a book which came out in June. It spent five weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and received an average of five stars out of five from fans on Amazon.

Baier wasn't able to fit Atlanta into his initial book tour but was finally able to find time to return to Atlanta for a speech and book signing at the All Pro Dad Live conference at the Greater Atlanta Christian School August 23.

He hopes to bring his son, the star of "Special Heart." "He likes to sign books with me," Baier said in a recent phone interview from his home base in Washington D.C.

He will be joined by comic Jeff Foxworthy, University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt and Super Bowl champ Tony Dungy, among others. (You can buy general admission tickets here for $49.)

While in the hospital, he chronicled the hardships in a series of emails to friends and colleagues. Baier's brother Tim compiled those emails and sent them out with pictures. "I looked at that and thought, 'There's probably a book here that could help some families.' "

He also decided to also give all the proceeds of the book to Children's National Medical Center where his son was treated as well as some non-profit pediatric heart research groups. Based on sales to date, he hopes to donate at least a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Baier said that going so personal was not in his normal wheelhouse as a journalist. "It's not exactly comfortable when you start dealing with emotions and family and life and death situations," he said.

But the reaction to the book has made it all worthwhile, he said: "It's been enriching to listen to so many personal stories of people going through adversity. I've had dads come to signings wearing hospital bands with kids in the hospital recovering from surgery."

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Credit: Rodney Ho

Paul, now seven, didn't have it easy by any stretch. He's been through three open heart surgeries and multiple angioplasties. But in many ways, he's just a normal kid who grows like a weed.

"He's doing great," Baier said. "He's bouncing off the wall at summer camp. He's in golf camp. He did tennis camp. He plays soccer. He's very athletic. He's the tallest kid in his class."

And better yet: he's got Baier's full head of hair. "Looks like the Lego snap on," he joked.

His son has one more big surgery to replace a valve when he's about 12 or 13. "We try not to think about the stuff that's ahead," he said. "We try do normal family stuff. We''ll enjoy the good health and some time on the beach."

Paul is not quite old enough to have read the book but "when he's 16 or 17 and asks for car keys, I'll say, 'Go read that book and see what you put your mother through!' "

If you go

All Pro Dad Live

Saturday, August 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

$49 general admission ($79 with special meet and greets and a $29 group rate)

Greater Atlanta Christian School

1575 Indian Trail Road, Norcross

Explorewww.allprodad.com/live

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