The news arrives in the wake of a life changing business trip for the company's CEO and recognized leader in marketing and development for a number of the globe's most prominent non-profits, Damon Davis. He said that the vision for Extreme Rescuer was first sparked while filming a documentary with Dikembe Mutombo featuring his hand in building the first modern hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital.
"There we were, filming a documentary on a hospital, spending all this money on production and we were surrounded by children who couldn't afford medical care," Davis says. "If you want surgery, you have to bring your own medicine, your own scalpel and by the way, your own doctor," he says describing the standard medical offering for the region. "Oftentimes if they can't afford to pay the bill, families are left with no resolve and the child dies."
Davis and his crew extended their stay and worked with Mutombo to identify a doctor and funded the child's surgery. Jean Simone is now walking and living a normal life.
Following what the team now calls their first rescue was a pivotal meeting between Davis and Carlos Vargas, founder of Hope of Life in Guatemala, an organization that rescues more than 1,000 babies every year. Vargas explained that the cause is too great a feat and the government is doing everything they can but there are some extreme locations and situations that the Vargas can't get to alone and would require help. Davis and his team felt called to the effort.
Davis assembled a team for the mission, calling them Extreme Rescuers and began a dual effort to deliver a force on the ground in Guatemala and develop a team back at home to drive it.
"We knew that Extreme Rescuer would be our first major campaign but needed a parent company for future projects with the same end goals," says the initiative's Marketing Coordinator, Brittani O'Donoghue. "This is when Love Universal was born. The company functions as an umbrella for continued humanitarian efforts."
"No one is doing this," says Davis. "I am the child of four generations of pastors but I am not called to preach. I am called to serve those who do -- to help them expand and reach their goals, but every man must find his own purpose. I am fortunate enough to have time to allocate to my own passion. To get out into the field and fight for the babies who are unable to fight for themselves."
Davis says he has discovered that there are many organizations doing great work around the globe. However, for many reasons these groups aren't able to get to extreme locations and conditions. "My goal is to assemble more teams like the one in Guatemala to join these organizations with the same vision," he said.
The team touched ground September 23.
"We had no script. We really didn't have much planning. We didn't know what we were going to experience and the very night of our arrival, we received the first call," said Davis.
In the following days the Extreme Rescuers would successfully rescue nine children. The team says that the success was bittersweet, leaving them with an eye-opening experience followed by the onset of sleepless nights.
"I had never been that close to death and actually be in a position to do something about it," said Davis, describing the rescue of a twenty-pound 3-year-old. "She was so passed the point of starvation, that life as we know it had left her body. Her arms were hanging by her side. She was skin and bone and I could see her heart beating in her chest. She could barely lift her head and was in so much pain, she could barely even cry."
Briana Thomas, one of the volunteers that joined Davis in Guatemala said that the experience was haunting. "When we lost one of the babies during the rescue, all I could think of was the possibilities if we had been there sooner," she said. "Mothers are forced to pick who gets to eat each day. These babies were in so much agony. I kept wondering how long they had been gasping for air."
The entire Extreme Rescuer team agreed that the trip was just the beginning. Cody Scoggins, a 37-year-old former SWAT and law enforcement officer said, "While flying home, I couldn't stop thinking about all the kids we didn't save. We have to go back. The need is so great."
Davis said before the team returned home, plans and coordination for the docu-reality series began taking shape. He said the entire company was moved by the testimonies and supportive of the initiative that appeared to actualize over night.
When the raw footage reached the corporate offices, O'Donoghue said she was immediately taken with the mission.
"I've watched my own son die in my arms. I gave him CPR in my home and had medicine and an ambulance that reached us within minutes," she said. "I had access to an ER and medical bills that I could pay. I had the right food, the right medicine, vitamins and clothing. I had the help of caregivers and it was still a mess. These people don't have any of that."
Extreme Rescuer focuses on a three-part mission: Save a Life. Sustain a Life. Transform a Life. Once the show premieres, viewers will have the opportunity to call in, text or visit www.extremerescuer.com to donate or learn more about becoming a Rescuer. There is a range of different levels of donation from monthly pledges to opportunities to join an actual rescue.
The 30-member Legacy team brings 40 years of experience to the table within the advertising, marketing and broadcasting services sector. The team says the project came naturally and married with their passion for humanitarianism, birthed a mission dedicated to help give a voice to those in need through the power of media.
"Our team was visibly impacted to the core," said O'Donoghue. "We know the marketing business. We have the resources the get the word into homes. We passionately believe that if we build awareness and give people the opportunity to help, they will."
The Extreme Rescuer team says the future of the show and project will hinge on developing partnerships with major humanitarian organizations, corporate sponsors and public donations.
When asked why a white-collar CEO would want to halt business to begin such a huge endeavor, Davis said, "I have fed children. I have been involved in the programs that provided clothing and medical care. I have sat in the soup lines, but nothing drove deeper or affected me more than a baby that is hanging onto the last breath of life."