INTERVIEW: The Buried Life shares heartwarming details from their latest project
In our exclusive interview, Jonnie Penn and Dave Lingwood from The Buried Life talk about helping a young girl get a bionic arm, plus they seek assistance from fans to help more people in need.
The Buried Life is a project that began when Jonnie Penn, his brother Duncan, Dave Lingwood and their friend Ben Nemtin got together after a personal tragedy.
"We started it because we were unsatisfied with the lives that we were living," Jonnie Penn said. "Each of us was in college and we were happy for the most part, but wanted more. My brother, who I do this project with, had lost a friend [when they] drowned accidentally on a camping trip, which made him think a lot about his life and what he wanted out of it."
The tragedy made them ask one another a very simple, but very important question. The result not only helped each of them, but others as well.
"So we decided to write a list of everything we ever wanted to do in our lives and see if we could hit the road and accomplish as many [things] as possible off that list. And for every one that we got done, we'd help a stranger do something they wanted to do," Penn revealed.
Their acts of kindness were documented on a show on MTV, but even after the series ended, they continued to help others. Recently, their project gave them the chance to help out a very special young lady named Torri. When asked what she wanted to do before she died, one of Torri's friends said the No. 1 thing she wanted to do was help her friend. Torri, born with only one hand, didn't have the insurance to get a prosthetic limb, which is where The Buried Life stepped in.
Working with organizations such as Invisible Children and The Hangar Clinic, The Buried Life team collaborated with Torri's friends and had her flown out to California and surprised her onstage in front of 1,500 people with the news that she would be getting a bionic hand.
Lingwood and Penn said helping Torri was something very special and described her as "a very sweet and amazing young woman" who "got dealt a tough card" but never let it bother her.
The project came together very quickly, even for them. "It was a real rush," Penn said. "We're used to doing these things pretty quickly but, just given the cost involved, was pretty crazy. It took about seven days to go from hearing about it to actually bringing Torri in and having her onstage and letting her know it was all ready to go."
But they and the Hangar Clinic aren't done yet. If the video about Torri's story gets 1 million hits, then the "Hangar Clinic said they will donate another arm to someone who needs it," Lingwood revealed.
So be sure to watch the video below and send it on to your friends so you can help give a prosthetic limb to someone in need.
The response the video has gotten came as a surprise to the guys. "We did not expect the response the video's gotten," Penn said. "It's been in the news in China and Chile and all over Europe and North America as well. It's been very widely publicized and we're touched that people care."
Though The Buried Life began with the guys crossing off wishes on their own bucket lists, it has become so much more. "It's actually more about helping other people, to be honest. We've had such an unbelievable journey. Helping people has become more a part of what we do," Penn shared.
"We can't promise that we can help everybody, but we do the best we can to help those we think really need it," Lingwood added.
If there is something you or someone you know could use some assistance with, The Buried Life may be able to help. "We are very actively looking for people to help. It could just be your friend down the street, it doesn't need to be anything extraordinary," Penn said.
To request help from The Buried Life for yourself or someone else in need, you may email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The guys don't recommend sending requests through social media as they can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Penn and Lingwood also sent out another request: Ask yourself, "What do you want to do before you die?" and you might just be surprised at the results. As Penn said, "Sometimes it's just remembering what you want to do. That's all that you need to be like, 'OK, I'm going to do it.'"