ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (April 15, 2015) – A Zionsville family has made it their mission to encourage others to donate life after they lost their son in a car accident two years ago.
Justin Langford graduated from Zionsville High School in 2009 and then earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University. After graduation, Justin started a career with Allison Transmission in Indianapolis.
“He was very bright, but he was also very well rounded," his father, Bryan Langford said.
Langford described his son as a musical virtuoso as well as a computer geek.
"In his 23 short years, he had so much life," Bryan said.
Justin was also getting ready to ask his girlfriend of five years to marry him. His parents said the ring was already bought and safely stored in their safe.
“They had a lot of fun together," Justin's mother, Janice Langford said. "They packed a lot into five years."
But a life that seemed to have everything going in the right direction, tragically ended two years ago when Justin died in a car accident on a work trip to Arizona.
"You don’t believe it’s real," said Bryan Langford about how he felt when he got the call his son had died.
The family then had a quick decision to make. Justin checked the box when he was 16 and getting his drivers license to become organ donor. His parents, Bryan and Janice, had to give the hospital in Flagstaff the go ahead to preserve his organs.
They did and his organs went on to help more than 25 people around the United States. The family is starting to make contacts with some of the people who are living with pieces of Justin inside them.
“You’ve basically gained life," Michael Valdez, who has Justin's kidney and pancreas, said. "It’s like a second shot.”
Valdez went on to say he feels a new youthfulness inside himself that he believes comes from Justin.
"Thank you Justin," 3-year-old Alex Taylor, who has Justin's other kidney, said.
Janice says she cherished the time she met Fernando Zazeuta, who is living with Justin's heart.
"I could hear (Justin's) heart beat," Janice Langford said.
All three recipients the family has met so far were very close to death before receiving Justin's organs.
“(Fernando) went from a state of despair to playing soccer with his son," Janice Langford said.
"(The organ recipients) can live everyday with hope and that’s what we want them to do," Bryan Langford said. "Live everyday to the best of their abilities and to chase their passion.”
The Langfords are now using their son's death as a platform to encourage other people to become organ donors and share their faith.
“We fundamentally believe when crisis happens in life as difficult as it is, that it can be used for good," Bryan Langford said.
The Langfords are holding a blood drive Saturday, April 15 in their son's honor at Boone Village, 25 Boone Village, Zionsville, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You don't need an appointment and the Langfords will be distributing materials about organ donations.
The family also has a run planned for May 14 to raise money for two scholarships in Justin's honor.