Photo courtesy of Ann Langley.
Laura Langley Blood Drive
A college friend of Laura Langley (front chair) gives blood in her memory at the annual blood drive.
4th Annual Laura Langley Memorial Blood Drive
Aug. 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
First Christian Church
4954 Valleydale Road
Laura Langley was on a quest to make the world a better place. Even though she passed away three years ago, she continues to do so through her legacy.
A 2007 graduate of Oak Mountain High School, Langley was involved in a car accident on June 3, 2012. During the attempts at UAB Hospital to save her life, she received over 50 units of blood. Within a few days, neighbors of her parents in the Ross Bridge community wanted to do something to help. They organized a blood drive in Laura’s honor, knowing she would have been the first to do something to help.
“Our first drive was so successful, we knew we needed to do it again,” said Laura’s mom, Ann Langley. “It needed to be where people knew and loved her, so we moved it to First Christian Church [where Laura grew up attending], and it was equally successful.”
Each pint of blood donated can save up to three lives, and Langley is confident that more than 1,000 lives have been saved through this blood drive.
“That is a legacy of Laura’s that is important,” Langley said. “She would be thrilled something so tragic has had lasting benefits to others.”
Students at the University of Alabama, where Laura attended college, are also benefiting from her legacy. Within hours of her death, her fellow students appealed to the faculty to establish the Laura Langley Social Justice Award in recognition of a student’s efforts to address social justice concerns. Laura’s parents also established a scholarship with insurance money they received, which is awarded to high-potential students for whom financial assistance would be helpful.
Laura’s memory is also being honored through her former workplace, AIDS Alabama. In 2004, her father, Jim Langley, became a part of their management team. Executive Director of AIDS Alabama Elaine Cottle said she and the staff watched Laura grow, graduate and go off to college. A social worker position became available, and Laura worked there from February until she passed away.
“In those few short months, she impressed us all with her quiet strength and quirky sense of fun, alongside a deep commitment to ending injustice,” Cottle said. “AIDS Alabama staff decided to name their Campus Activity Center after Laura and her father. It is a testament to her indomitable spirit that in less than four months, an entire agency and its board of directors unanimously dedicated a building in her name — a building where those with little justice in their lives hopefully begin to find hope and vision for recovery,” Cottle said.
Laura’s mom said things like this continue to mean so much to her.
“What I’m comforted by today is that Laura wanted her life to make a difference, and it still is,” Ann said.
This year’s blood drive will be Aug. 22 at First Christian Church. To make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: Laura.