Family and Friends of Fallen Apopka Firefighter Honor Memory at Fight For Air Climb on February 17

Join “AFD Austin’s Army” and hundreds of lung health advocates on February 17 at American Lung Association fundraiser at City National Bank Tower

This Saturday, February 17, Austin Duran’s family, friends and fellow firefighters will climb 25 stories of City National Bank Tower as a tribute to his legacy. They will be participating in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb Orlando, which raises critical funds for local programming, research and advocacy initiatives.

Austin Duran joined the Apopka Fire Department in July 2020, after serving as a fire explorer in high school. Two years later, at the age of 25, Duran was critically injured in a workplace incident. While recovering in the ICU, he developed pneumonia and passed. This tragedy highlights the dangers firefighters and emergency responders face in the line of duty. 

Only a few months before his untimely death, Austin had participated in the Orlando Climb at Exploria Stadium. He raced up more than 1,000 stairs while wearing full gear in an astonishing 13:02 minutes. He was committed to raising awareness for lung health, as firefighters and first responders are at a higher risk of developing lung disease due to the nature of their work.

At the 2023 Orlando Climb, Austin’s parents, Gail and Mike Duran, rallied their network to support the Lung Association to honor their son’s life. Mike and Gail climbed surrounded by friends and family, and Mike even climbed in Austin’s fire jacket. The Apopka Fire Department team came out in full force.

"We miss Austin every day and climb to keep his memory alive,” Gail and Mike Duran shared. “We are honored by the award given in his name and grateful to have the support of the American Lung Association and his crew at the Apopka Fire Department continue his legacy."

This Saturday, Gail, alongside friends, family and Apopka firefighters, will return to the Fight For Air Climb as “AFD Austin’s Army” to continue Austin’s legacy. Together with the support of the local community, AFD Austin’s Army has raised more than $10,600 to support lung health initiatives. Currently, they are more than halfway to reaching their 2024 goal of $3,000.

The Lung Association, in collaboration with the Duran family and Apopka Fire Rescue, will honor Austin’s memory by presenting the “Fight For Air Climb Austin Duran Award” to the firefighter who raises the most funds. The honorary award was created in 2023, and the Lung Association has committed to continuing the award each year to keep Austin’s memory alive.

The American Lung Association has continued admiration for all our local firefighters and emergency responders and is thankful for their continued support of the Fight For Air Climb.

Join the Durans, AFD Austin’s Army, and hundreds of other lung health advocates from Central Florida and beyond at the Fight For Air Climb Orlando on February 17. Participants can form a new team, join an existing team or register as an individual climber. Registration for the Fight For Air Climb Orlando is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit ClimbOrlando.org.

Thank you to Eddie Fisher Wealth Strategies of Raymond James for serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the Fight For Air Climb Orlando. Thank you to our local sponsors, including Jill S. Schwartz & Associates, P.A., Frank Gay Services, City National Bank, Advent Health and Downtown Orlando. Thank you to our National Corporate Team Partners, Kindred Hospitals and Raymond James.

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., is a member of the New York Stock Exchange/SIPC. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of The American Lung Association.

For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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