Five years ago, Jacob Allen was 18 and liked to go hiking with his parents. On this specific day, they were hiking at Dolly Sods and Jacob got a little ahead of his parents and disappeared around a turn. This shouldn't have been a big deal, but Jacob has autism and is non-verbal. He was lost for 4 days when temperatures were down to about 40 degrees overnight. Hundreds of people came from hours away to help in the search and on the fourth day Jacob was found lying in a clearing a little dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed.
This all happened around that time that we were getting a little suspicious about autism in Wesley and we went to church with this family, so I was glued to every piece of info that came out and I prayed my heart out that Jacob would be found in time. Shortly after Jacob was found, he got a Project Lifesaver bracelet put on, so that if this should ever happen again, he would only be lost for a matter of hours at the most.
It was about a year later when Wesley figured out how to unlock the door on his own, and having no fear, decided to explore on his own. So, because of all we learned because of Jacob, we placed him in the program. A deputy came to our house each month in full uniform, so he would not be afraid if they should need to find him, and changed the battery for the bracelet that he wore at all times on his ankle. This bracelet has a radio transmitter inside it that uses a unique frequency for each person that the deputies can track if they should ever get lost. This is used on anyone with autism, down syndrome, Alzheimer's, and other brain disorders.
This program probably saved me a couple gray hairs! I had his transmitter frequency memorized, but thankfully, never had to use it. However, I do remember twice that he pulled a disappearing act and while franticly looking for him, I continuously recited this number just so I didn't forget it in my panic. Wesley has since stopped wandering and has become more verbal, so he no longer wears a Project Lifesaver bracelet. But we have several friends who still need the bracelet, and we weren't going to pass up a chance to support such an important program! So...off we went!
And we beat Miss Deb too!
Originally, our whole family was going to participate in the 2K Fun Walk, but Nicholas decided that he was going to run the 5K. He ran his very first 5K to benefit a program that had been essential in our peace of mind for years. I am very proud of him! He was the absolute last person to finish the run...and he even turned down a ride so he could finish. But he was determined to do it and he did!
He was pretty knocked out afterward though! :-)