Project Lifesaver to hold fundraiser

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Agency helps keep track of adults and children with conditions that make them prone to wandering away from home.

By April Wright, Reporter

The fifth annual Golf and Summer Bash fundraiser to benefit Project Lifesaver, is Saturday at the Galax Municipal Golf Course and clubhouse.
Project Lifesaver is a non-profit agency that works with individuals with autism, Down syndrome, dementia, Alzheimer’s and related disorders.
Golfing shotgun start times are 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Music and hors d’oeuvres are at 4:30 p.m. and dinner, catered by Blue Moon Catering, is at 6.
The tournament format includes first six holes, best ball; second six holes; captain’s choice; third six holes, alternative shot; longest drive; closest to the pin; closest to the line.
Various package deals and hole sponsorships are offered. Golf, dinner and entertainment is $85, and dinner alone is $30. Awards and door prizes will be given, and an auction will cap off the evening.
Project Lifesaver is a local chapter of a national program that provides search and rescue equipment to save the lives of children and adults and provide piece of mind to caregivers. It reduces potential from serious injury for adults and children who wander due to illness.
It provides equipment, training, certification and support to public safety organizations and community groups that operate the Project Lifesaver program in their communities.
Project Lifesaver International has more than 1,100 participating agencies across the U.S., Canada and Australia, and has performed more than 2,167 successful searches in the past 10 years.
The Galax Volunteer Fire Department, Carroll Search and Rescue, Baywood Search and Rescue and a board of organizers operate the local program. It was started after a local mother, whose child was diagnosed with autism, asked local rescue teams to take it on.
“Statistically, there are more cases of these diagnoses, either from an increase in the illnesses or more people are being diagnosed, and more people are staying at home to care for their loved ones,” said Galax Fire Chief Hankley.
“Their fear is that their loved ones that have these illnesses may wander off, so supporting this agency is a good thing for rescue teams to do. Anyone that needs a device, we will give it to them.”
The chapter pays for equipment to 30 clients, which includes a transmitter allowing rescue teams to locate individuals, and monthly battery replacement for the devices. Transmitters alone cost $300, and it takes $420 to outfit clients for a year. Radio receivers for rescue teams cost several thousand dollars.
The agency hopes to raise at least $3,500 to cover expenses for a year.
There have been two local instances in which the devices were used. In both cases, the clients were found before search and rescue teams arrived to the location.
If an individual wanders and the caregiver notifies rescue workers, response teams use a radio receiver to track the individual wearing a transmitter by putting out a frequency unique to the client.
The radio receiver puts out a tracking signal that lets the team know it is closer to finding the individual.
“Clients are often found in less than 30 minutes,” said Hankley. “If individuals are not wearing transmitters, they have a high incidence of not being found at all until something bad happens.”

For more information about Project Lifesaver or to sign up for the dinner or tournament, call Hankley at 233-5690. Send general donations payable to Project Lifesaver to P.O. Box 35, Woodlawn, Va., 24381. See www.projectlifesaver.org for agency information.