On November 11, Jason Wheat from Orange County Fire Rescue will help the American Lung Association in Florida fund critical lung cancer research and raise awareness about lung disease through Lip Sync For Lungs.
Wheat will serve as a judge for Lip Sync For Lungs, where local celebrities execute lip sync performances to songs of their choice, all to win the top spot of Lip Sync Battle Champion. The event, which typically takes place at Sak Comedy Lounge, was reimagined to offer two options to participate – drive-in movie theater live stream viewing at Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando or a live stream ticket option to view from home.
Wheat is a 16-year Orange County Fire Rescue department firefighter. In 2018, he joined retired firefighter Tom "Bull" Hill in a walk across Florida (Key West to Tallahassee) to raise awareness and lobby for stronger benefits for firefighters; specifically benefits for families of firefighters who died of cancer. The following year, Wheat was recognized as the 2019 Florida Firefighter of the Year.
“In the line of duty, firefighters are regularly exposed to smoke, gasses, chemicals and other substances that can be damaging to their lungs, making them at an increased risk for lung disease,” said Wheat. “Additionally, studies have shown that firefighters face a 9% increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths, as compared to the general population. Because of this, the work of the Lung Association hits close to home for me and many of my colleagues.”
Prior to joining Orange County Fire Rescue in 2005, Wheat worked as a combat medic and the U.S. Army and as a firefighter in Iraq for a private contractor. His experience is what led him to join OCFR's Safety and Wellness Section as a peer fitness trainer in 2015.
Money raised at the Lip Sync For Lungs will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative. The COVID-19 Action Initiative is a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.