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Tampa is Latest Recipient of Project Lifesaver Grant Funds Through The National Autism Association

TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Autism Association announced today that Tampa is the latest grant recipient of Project Lifesaver funding through the organization's FOUND Program. FOUND was developed by NAA to counter the rise in wandering-related deaths among children with autism. Since 2004, at least 14 children diagnosed with autism have died as a result of wandering.

Project Lifesaver is a nationwide tracking program established to quickly locate and rescue missing persons with cognitive impairments and developmental disabilities, such as autism. The program is typically facilitated by each county's sheriff's office. 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.

According to Cpl. Jeffrey P Massaro of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, approximately 689 children with autism are registered with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida, "Along with being a tourist destination, we knew more families would either travel to CARD or move there to be closer to the facility. This made Hillsborough County a strong choice for funding," commented Lori McIlwain of NAA.

Recently the cost to implement Project Lifesaver was reduced from $5600 to $3000. "Due to this decrease, we can now fund more counties and larger counties," stated NAA President Wendy Fournier. "With a 100% recovery rate, we're looking for funding from any organization, foundation, corporation or individual. At $3000 per county, there are so many more lives we can save."

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 the program, visit

To learn more about Project Lifesaver, visit Parents and caregivers can also find safety tips on NAA's site at

    Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI) 401-835-5828
    Lori McIlwain (Cary, NC) 919-741-1646

SOURCE The National Autism Association
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