Juan Pino, 9/11 survivor, suffers from emphysema and COPD in years after attack

Hope for double-lung transplant 12 years later

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - New York native Juan Pino used to be an avid runner. But the terror that struck the World Trade Center 12 years ago turned his life upside down.

"Hearing people screaming, seeing them jump out of buildings, it was out of this world. It is all still vivid in my mind," said Pino.

Pino was an electrician working just a couple blocks from the Twin Towers on Sept. 11 2001. When the planes hit, he ran toward ground zero hoping to help.

"It must've been two feet of dust, like black snow everywhere. It may have been asbestos, bad stuff, God knows what was in the air that day," said Pino.

Pino says he helped grab people out of the buildings, and ran when the first tower fell. He had no idea every breath he took would make him dependent on oxygen for the rest of his life.

"After the first year I was declining, I couldn't breathe anymore," said Pino.

Now he only has the use of 12% of his lungs, and he's waiting for a double-lung transplant. He hasn't been back to ground zero, worried the memories would be too much for him.

But he doesn't regret his decision that day, instead he is grateful he's still here.

"It has helped me grow, as a man, and realize what is important in life. It is a treasure to breathe, and wake up as others can't do anymore," said Pino.

Click here for more information on Pino.

 

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