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Local Communities Get Serious About Saving Lives Through Project Lifesaver Tracking Equipment, Says NAA
Date:2/26/2009

NIXA, Mo., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the past 12 weeks, two communities have raised funds in their counties for Project Lifesaver, a nationwide tracking program established to quickly locate and rescue missing persons with cognitive impairments and developmental disabilities, such as autism and Alzheimer's. The program is typically facilitated by each county's sheriff's office.

In Savannah, two fathers of children with autism, Sam Spencer and Mark Hansen, raised $10,000 for Project Lifesaver/Lojack equipment to be available in three Georgia counties. "It was an honor to raise these funds for our county and surrounding counties," says Spencer. Mark Hansen added, "We're very pleased about the opportunity to give Georgia families access to this lifesaving equipment." The check will be presented tomorrow at 9:00 am during the Chatham County Commissioners meeting at the Chatham County Courthouse. The funds were raised through a chili cook-off and the kind generosity of county employees.

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a local youth group held a "rockathon" at the Christ United Church of Christ where participants rocked in rocking chairs all night to raise money for the National Autism Association's FOUND Program, which provides funding to sheriff's offices across the country for the equipment. "We're extremely grateful for the kindness and compassion these individuals have shown. This equipment will help save many lives and they've set the example that you can raise money for your own county to make it safer for those in danger of wandering," says Rita Shreffler, executive director of the National Autism Association (NAA).

Most recently, NAA's FOUND Program funded Tampa, Florida. The nonprofit hopes to zero in on larger counties that have a greater need for the program. "As wandering-related deaths among autism continue to rise, we're relying on Project Lifesaver's 100% recovery rate to help prevent the worst case scenario, especially in larger counties where more children with autism reside," says NAA board chair Lori McIlwain.

McIlwain also says that although sheriff offices may face a lack of funding for the program, the cost to implement Project Lifesaver is far less than a single search and rescue effort.

Fundraising tools were also established by NAA for communities that wish to raise funds in their own counties for Project Lifesaver. To download these tools or donate to NAA's FOUND program, visit www.nationalautism.org.

To learn more about Project Lifesaver, visit www.projectlifesaver.org. Parents and caregivers can also find safety tips on NAA's site at www.nationalautismassociation.org/safetytoolkit


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SOURCE National Autism Association
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