Autistic boy's mom reflects, promotes life-saving device
It was one year ago this week that a seven-year-old autistic boy died after being lost in the woods in Cape Breton.
James Delorey wandered away from his home on Dec. 5. Hundreds of people joined in the search for him, but he was found two days later by Ground Search and Rescue. He died later that day in hospital.
The boy's mother, Veronica Fraser, said she plans to spend the anniversary in quiet reflection.
"It seems like it just happened, although a lot has happened since in a positive way," said Fraser. "I believe Cape Breton is a safer place to live now because of what everybody learned. There's a lot yet to happen but [I'll be] just reflecting on what happened. I know it's going to be all fresh, again."
She said her grief over James's death has been hard.
"It is very heavy. You just learn to carry it a different way. Like a heavy backpack, the load will always be there; it's just carrying it right to so that you can get through."
In the last year, Fraser has worked with a number of organizations, including the Autism Society of Cape Breton, fire departments, police and search and rescue to educate people about autism.
She has been helping Cape Breton Search and Rescue launch its Project Lifesaver, a program that uses tracking devices to help locate missing people with autism or Alzheimers disease.
Users wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle. It emits a tracking signal. If the person goes missing, a caregiver can notify the agency and a trained emergency team can go to the area where the signal is seen.
The initial startup cost is $5,000 to $6,000 and the bracelets cost families about $500.
Fraser said her son would have worn one and it could have resulted in his being found within hours.
"He would've thought it was a watch and he would've worn it on his wrist," she said.