Pair who survived Orlando nightclub shooting perform at fundrais - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pair who survived Orlando nightclub shooting perform at fundraiser at Play in Louisville

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Axel and Azsia Axel and Azsia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Axel and Azsia were there the night a gunman opened fire at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando. 

They hid from the gunman in a dressing room and eventually made it to safety. Some of their friends were not so fortunate.

"Being defenseless -- not being able to help the people that were still inside -- is heart wrenching," said Azsia, a Pulse Nightclub manager and performer. "That's what hurts the most. Me having to run and not being able to help." 

Thursday night, they performed at Play Dance Bar in Louisville to help raise money for the victims and for the people who lost work because of what happened. 

"There was 22 employees who lost their jobs that night," said Micah McGowan, a co-owner of Play. "Here's an owner of a nightclub that lost their business. This is going to help them."

Between this event and one in Nashville on Wednesday night, donations are expected to reach six figures. 

"For this bar that we've never been to, this bar that is just so far away from us, for them to be doing something like this for us, like that is beautiful," Axel said.

Several local businesses chipped in, making food and decorations for the show. Flags and ribbons hung in the entrance, listing all the names of the victims. 

Seeing those names made many emotional.

"It made me relive the moment, and it made me relive all the people I knew personally," Azsia said. "So I kind of had a moment where I had to go pull myself together, because it was also so beautiful it brought me to tears." 

The mayor and other local government and religious leaders also made appearances to support the message of unity and resiliency.

"It's very neat to have the religious organizations in a night club, and everyone coming together for one good common purpose," McGowan said.

"If you do live in fear, you are letting that person win," Azsia said. "He had no idea what he was doing when he did what he did, because at the end of the day, it's a tragedy.

"But he brought the community together more than anyone has ever seen before."

The cover charge Thursday was a suggested donation of $20. All the proceeds went to the victims. 

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