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Chesterfield fifth grader helps families coping with childhood cancer

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Whether he’s driving his remote control car or a fast ball for a base hit Richard Langford thrives at being a ten year old, but the Chesterfield fifth grader is unlike most boys his age.

Although family comes first, Richard lives to help strangers.

“I just like to serve people every day,” says Richard. “Because when I help people it makes me feel happy.”

Richard’s thoughtfulness is on full display daily.

“He is learning to put everyone first other than himself,” says Richard’s mother, Jennifer Langford.

At the young age of 8, Richard willingly shouldered responsibilities and household chores while his mother battled the dreaded blood cancer.

At the young age of 8, Richard willingly shouldered responsibilities and household chores while his mother battled the dreaded blood cancer.

During his breaks from Salem Church Elementary Richard and mom, Jennifer, spend their vacation volunteering at Lighthouse Family Retreat. Lighthouse is a safe, seaside environment for families coping with childhood cancer to rejuvenate physically and spiritually.

“It is so fast paced. We do everything for those families -- washing clothes, making beds, cleaning, sweeping -- we do everything,” says Jennifer. “They are strangers but they are best friends and family by the time we leave.”

“Because the family relaxes by the pool while we do the work for them,” says Richard.

Lighthouse is a safe, seaside environment for families coping with childhood cancer to rejuvenate physically and spiritually.

Lighthouse is a safe, seaside environment for families coping with childhood cancer to rejuvenate physically and spiritually.

Even when they are not visiting Lighthouse, Richard and his family are raising money. Their kitchen table is the nerve center of the operation-- piled high with laptops, printers and clipboards.

“This is our Lighthouse table where we put together our ideas together for our fundraising efforts,” says Jennifer.

Richard knows the toll cancer can take on loved ones all too well. He made a promise when his mother Jennifer was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma two years ago.

“That I would help her,” says Richard. “It was hard, really hard.”

Richard Langford thrives at being a ten year old, but the Chesterfield fifth grader is unlike most boys his age.

Richard Langford thrives at being a ten year old, but the Chesterfield fifth grader is unlike most boys his age.

At the young age of 8, Richard willingly shouldered responsibilities and household chores while his mother battled the dreaded blood cancer.

“He helped clean,” says Jennifer. “He did things I was physically not allowed to do.”

His mother’s sickness forced Richard to grow up at an early age.

“Because you never know when it is going to come back,” says Richard.

Jennifer says, “We told him. ‘Mom is going to fight and we are going to beat it.’”

Beat it Jennifer did. Two years later, Jennifer is in remission.  This strong mother and courageous son are grateful for each day.

Richard Langford is wise beyond his years. While he will always watch over his mother, Richard vows to help strangers in need.

“You never know if you’re going to have her the next day or what,” says Richard.

Moments later Jennifer chimes in. “So we enjoy what we got -- every day.”

Richard raises money for Lighthouse Retreat by holding yard sales and car washes.

Additionally, he will be accepting donations for Lighthouse at APlus Courthouse Commons Plaza on Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. as well as:

  • Chipotle on Hull Street on Feb. 27 from 2-10 p.m.
  • Don Pepe Restaurant Hull Street March 16 from 5-9 p.m.
  • He will also be at a yard sale at Ironbridge Self Storage on March 25 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

If you would like to make a contribution to support Richard, click here.

If you know someone Greg McQuade should profile in his "Heroes Among Us” segment, email him.