Life Aid – A Story of Hope Premiering on Discovery

August 2020

(click the image below to watch a :60 sec promo)

Life Aid: A Story of Hope

“There is no greater cause than taking care of these people who have made sure we are safe and have done so much for our country.” – Al Roker

August 30 – 8am et: Discovery Channel

September 2 – 6pm et: American Heroes Channel

September 2 – 5pm et: Science Channel

Here is a staggering fact: today, more military Veterans and first responders die by suicide than in the line of duty (over 20 take their life every single day!). As the number of global coronavirus cases continues to climb, concern over mental health is also increasing. Adjusting to life under lockdown is proving to be rather difficult for this at-risk group already struggling with anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation.

Photo of Paco in the Life Aid Documentary

Life Aid – A Story of Hope is a one-hour, nationally-televised special that chronicles the first-hand accounts from 9/11 first responders, state troopers and military Veterans and their families, as they overcome brain injuries sustained by their heroic work in the line of duty and recover from mental health symptoms and thoughts of suicide. It is a remarkable program, showing a variety of therapies and technologies used to diagnose brain injuries and stem the thoughts and actions of potentially suicidal patients.

Veteran in Whellchair in LifeAid Documentary

“There is a huge stigma around the words ‘mental health’,” commented John Wordin, founder and chairman of the Life Aid Research Institute. “When you break your arm, you go to the doctor, you fix your arm, you get sympathy and understanding. The same should be said no matter what your injury is. We’ve found that if we focus on brain health and healing brain injury, we remove the stigma.”

John Wordin of Life Aid

Life Aid – A Story of Hope is a partnership between Cerner, and the Life Aid Research Institute, and made in conjunction with ARE’s production partner, Emme Solutions. In addition to being compelling docu-style television programming, Life Aid – A Story of Hope is also indicative of the recent work emanating from Al Roker Entertainment with a social good narrative.

Al Roker on the Life Aid Shoot“We felt confident tapping Al Roker and his production team on the Life Aid story from years of working with them on similar projects,” commented Erica Rubach, co-founder of Emme Solutions. “One of the most important aspects for any brand or non-profit creating branded content is to tell a compelling and authentic story that doesn’t feel like it’s a paid-programming. We’re thrilled that Al signed on as Executive Producer knowing how much he cares about our military and first responders.”

“Lately, more and more brands and non-profits are becoming attracted to this style of inspirational branded storytelling,” added Tracie Brennan, EVP at Al Roker Entertainment. “Instead of simply buying ads and investing in PSA’s, they’re telling us they see the value in creating inspiring stories of doing good, and in turn, attracting a larger and more engaged audience. They can also activate this linear content across their online properties – website, social media – and drive conversions, donations, and involvement. It’s a big win for everyone involved.”

Shooting of a Life Aid TreatmentThe familial aspect of this social impact storytelling is evident in the narrative. “Creating this type of documentary-style programming always brings everyone much closer to the people being profiled,” noted show Producer, Rick Angeli. “We made a point to tell these stories from the point of view from the military and first-responders that are going through Life Aid’s breakthrough treatment and that just brought us closer to them, their families, and of course, their stories. It’s almost like we forget we were producing a TV show as we formed new friends and became part of their community. I think the audience may pick up on this and also lean in like we did.”

Director Justin Jarrett of JTwo Films, echoes Rick’s comments: “They sacrificed a lot for us so we wanted to be there for them. I’m happy that long after the shoots ended, we’ve formed relationships with these heroes.”

Jarrett also notes that producing during a pandemic had its share of challenges. Life Aid Video Shoot of Documentary A Story of HopeLuckily, most of the principal photography was accomplished before the lockdown, shooting with a RED 8K Helium camera which gave the filmmakers the opportunity to create cinematic visuals to tell these heartwarming stories. “We owed the people we worked with to create something special,” says Jarrett. “What they’re going through personally was with them way before the pandemic, and will be here after. I hope when people see the show they really listen, understand, get involved, and help.”

For Life Aid founder John Wordin, this TV special is a dream come true: “We have been approached for many years about telling the great stories of hope in a TV Show and Al Roker made it a reality. I hope that people who watch the show come away inspired with hope and purpose that there is a new way forward to finally reach zero suicides for those who bravely serve our country and eventually to everyone suffering from brain injury. I can’t wait to see it on the Discovery Channel!”

Thank You Healthcare from NorthwellLife Aid – A Story of Hope follows in a long tradition of programs produced by Al Roker that center around the military and first responders. Recently, the company produced (in association with Emme Solutions), Side by Side – A Celebration of Service, chronicling the day-to-day heroics of Northwell Health front line medical workers working within ground zero of the Covid19 pandemic in New York City. Also, ARE’s signature program, Coast Guard Alaska (and its spinoffs, Coast Guard Florida and Coast Guard Cape Disappointment) air daily on streaming AVOD, Pluto TV, after running on The Weather Channel for close to five years.

“It’s an honor telling the stories of our military and first responders,” commented Al Roker. “What they go through on a regular basis is truly amazing and I am forever grateful for their unselfish service. There is no greater cause than taking care of these people who have made sure we are safe.”

Life Aid - A Story of Hope

August 30 – 8am et: Discovery Channel

September 2 – 6pm et: American Heroes Channel

September 2 – 5pm et: Science Channel