HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. -- The life of an 8-year old boy with autism in Hendricks County is driving community members and other parents of children with the disorder to raise awareness about tracking devices and fight to make them more accessible.
Behind the trucks, helicopters and cars at the Hendricks Regional Health Touch a Truck and Child Safety Fair, Shalom Lawson's story is touching hearts.
"I think that this touches everybody's hearts a little bit," Karen Hendershot, with Project Lifesaver Hendricks County, said.
Earlier this month, Lawson disappeared while visiting family in Brownsburg. His body was later found in a pond.
In the weeks since Lawson's death, Hendershot said more and more families have reached out to learn about the transmitter devices Project Lifesaver Hendricks County helps provide. They help first responders locate someone with things like autism, Down syndrome or Alzheimer's disease.
"There's plenty of families that could benefit from this service and they just don't know that the service is here," Hendershot said.
The Touch a Truck event helped raise funds for the organization. It's just one effort, though.
"If there's something out here that can protect any child who's an escape risk why not make it available?" Shauna Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb said Shalom's story hit home for her.
"That is my biggest driving force and then I have a son who's autistic that I mean I just feel something like this could happen to my kid," Lipscomb said.
Now, she's started an online petition she hopes catches lawmakers eyes. She wants a system created to connect parents who's children receive a diagnosis of autism with agencies who can provide the tracking devices.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes, and as I stated before, I'm gonna keep pressing and pushing and pushing," she said.
The effort to educate families goes beyond Indiana though.
At Project Lifesaver Hendricks County's booth table, there was a donation jar set up. Hendershot said it was to collect donations to help Shalom's family advocate for a Project Lifesaver program in Louisville. She said they need a bare minimum of $4,000.