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Ten-year-old autistic Georgia girl drowned in bath during seizure

Olivia an autistic Savannah girl known to have frequent seizures was found in the bathtub underwater and unresponsive by her father on Saturday, May 16, 2014. Please join family and friends in honoring Olivia's life in a candlelight vigil on May 19, 2014, at 7:30 pm.

Autism health insurance reform is essential in savings lives.  This is a perfect case of how a preventative actions could of saved a life.
Autism health insurance reform is essential in savings lives. This is a perfect case of how a preventative actions could of saved a life.
Faye Montgomery
Olivia's death creates momentum to discuss autism and health care.
Faye Montgomery

The bright eyed 10-year old girl was not verbal but according to friends she had no problem expressing her feelings. After being taken to the hospital with her lungs full of water and no heartbeat the paramedics were able to resuscitate her.

Olivia took a turn for the worse and died on May 18, 2014.

Friends and family have gathered on Facebook to honor her life and come together in an effort to show the family support.

"Please pray for her & her family. Invite everyone...let's get every prayer warrior in the world fighting for her," said Sara Rosenberger.

"Olivia had smiles for miles and eyes that could tell a thousand tales without speaking a single word. Her mom said she knew no strangers and when they would go to the beach, it was like she was running for public office :) stopping to say hi to everyone.

"Please join us in showing your love and support for this sweet Angel and her family, by lighting a candle in her honor. As many of us are all over the country, we made this a "virtual" vigil. Although we would love to see pictures of local vigils as well. In you photos comments put #prayersforOlivia and feel free to post them here, matter of fact we would LOVE that. We would love to see the world light up with a brightness that shown through this sweet little girl," said Sara Rosenberger.

For those wanting to come and show their support visitation will be at Fox and Weeks, Tuesday, 5 - 7 pm.

A rosary service will be held and a funeral mass will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 10 am, followed by a graveside service at Bonaventure/Greenwich cemetery.

Several members of the community as well as loving family members and friends have gone on Facebook, Prayers for Olivia, to share stories in an effort to keep her memory alive.

Readers are encouraged to visit the page and share some words.

"I wanted to share a story about my first meeting with sweet Olivia... It was an oyster roast and we were all outside. I didn't know anything about autism, I just knew the moment I saw her, she was absolutely precious. I was greeted with a hug and a huge smile. Every time I saw her, she smiled so big and hugged me and rubbed my face. At the oyster roast, Olivia was very intrigued by the ooyster shells, she wanted to heat the, ha ha! So, I scooped her up, grabbed a sleeve of saltine crackers, and we walked all over the yard while sharing a whole pack of crackers!! There was never a time I saw Olivia without a smile on her face. I consider myself very lucky and blessed that I had the pleasure of knowing her and spending time with her... pure sunshine!" said Keri English Stant Sowers.

Sadly too many young autistic kids are going without treatment because health insurance coverage in Georgia does not include coverage for autism.

Ava's Law a well known movement that was brought to the Georgia General Assembly in the 2014 session drummed up some serious concerns about health insurance coverage and lack of coverage for autistic people.

The bill was passed unanimously by the senate in the 2014 legislative session but died while waiting for review by the insurance committee in the House.

Autism health care is covered by over 30 states in the nation and Georgia has lagged behind for several reasons.

It is important that autism be recognized by the health insurance industry in Georgia so children and adults alike can be treated.

In lieu of flowers Olivia's family is asking that donations be made to the Easter Seals of Southern Georgia, Sara Coggin, 505 Elizabeth St., Waycross, Georgia 31501 or S.T.E.P.S. Summer Camp, Marsha Tolbert, Director, #912-236-7013.

According to Faye Montgomery, Olivia's mom, the summer camp is short on funding, "What they do for disabled children in our community is invaluable," Montgomery said.

Please join the family, friends and community in embracing Olivia's spirit by lighting a candle and sharing on Facebook.

No parent should ever have to lay their child to rest. Please reach out and show Olivia's family that they are not alone and prayers are going there way.

Pray for Olivia on Facebook

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