Zionsville family uses run, book to help others


Bryan and Janice Langford have sought to draw positives from every parent’s worst nightmare.

At age 23, their son, Justin, lost his life as a result of an accident while driving his flat-bed truck during performance calibration activities for his employer, Allison Transmission, in Flagstaff, Ariz., in May 2014.

The Langfords created Justin’s Run4Hope to raise money for the Justin David Langford Memorial Fund, which awards scholarships for students from Justin’s alma maters, Vanderbilt University and Zionsville Community High School.

The 7th Annual Justin’s Run4Hope, a run/walk event, is set for 9 a.m. May 21 at New Hope Christian Church, 5780 S. Main St., Whitestown. There is a 3.6-mile run, a 1-mile race and kids’ events. The last in-person run was in 2019. It was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fortunately, we had strong donations and support,” Bryan said.

Bryan, Janice and Kyle recently wrote a book with Kelsi Buckley, who was Justin’s long-term girlfriend, on finding hope in the tragedy. The book is called “Beauty and Hope from the Ashes.”

“It basically takes you through chronologically from the time we received that phone call that no parent wants to receive, all the way through our experiences with multiple events throughout that recount how people gave us hope, how God worked in people’s lives to step up and help us through those moments,” Bryan said. “The tag line of the book is ‘A Journey Through Life, Tragedy, Hope, Community and Faith,’ so the book emphasizes all the way through those elements through the current date. We went to the Rose Bowl to represent Donor Network. It speaks about organ donation. It’s to help people see there is hope even in their darkest moments.”

The book, which also encourages organ donation, includes chapters by Kyle and Buckley, contributions from organ recipient families and community friend Don Lamb.

“Writing the book was cathartic, it was emotional but we’re hoping it can help others through a difficult time,” Janice said.

Bryan, who retired from Roche and is an associate minister at New Hope Christian Church, said it was Janice’s idea to write the book and they began three years ago.

The family keeps in touch with three of many of Justin’s organ recipients. Justin was a strong proponent of organ donation.

“We’ve met three and they are all doing well,” Bryan said. “We’ve met Fernando and heard Justin’s heart beating in him. He’s sent us pictures of playing with his son, taking his daughter to the prom and working on cars with his son.”

Alex, 10, received one of Justin’s kidneys.

“He’s in great health, he’s thriving and he’s funny and he’s brilliant,” Bryan said.

The fund supplies a $1,000 scholarship for a ZCHS senior who is pursuing a career in STEM. There is an endowed scholarship for Vanderbilt University engineering students, which covers almost half the tuition for four years

Kyle, a graduate of Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine, is in pediatric residency at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He married Shelby in 2021. Buckley is a dietitian a Stanford.

Bryan said $35,000 was raised in 2021 to bring the total to more than $350,000 raised for the fund. Bryan said $100,000 was raised through private donations and the rest was raised through the runs.

To register for the race, visit justinsrun4hope.com. The book is available on Amazon.com.