A life cut short

Boy who suffered from lifetime of seizures left his mark on friends, family

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Conner Langford, bottom row at left, poses with his parents Natalie and Bryan Langford, and sisters: Katie, Brooke, and Brinley Langford, of Hayden. Conner suffered from Lennox Gastaut Syndrome; a rare and severe form of epilepsy, and passed away Friday.

COEUR d'ALENE - What Natalie Langford will remember is the kid they called Little Casanova.

That's the 8-year-old boy who loved pretty women.

Bright-eyed, he'd walk right up to them, strangers and all, and say, "Hey, wanna come watch a movie at my house?"

That's another thing to remember about the boy. He loved movies, ones with cars, Herbie the Love Bug best of all.

Happy, infectious; if Conner Langford saw you worrying he'd come right up and squish your face and ask for a kiss. Sure, Conner had a stubborn side. And he'd made up swear words on the spot when he was displeased.

"Poppy spaghetti." he'd say, and that was the voice he put to his anger.

All of it is the boy his mother and family will remember, more than the one who suffered from Lennox Gastaut Syndrome; a rare and severe form of epilepsy that threw Conner into a lifetime of seizures.

Conner died in his sleep Friday, never waking up after his mother put him to bed the night before.

Despite Conner's condition - he suffered up to 20 seizures a day, some quiet, some loud, some violent and some causing him to hallucinate - the Fernan Elementary second-grader was always happy.

The firefighters and emergency responders who came to him during his lapses, Conner called them his buddies. He loved rocks too, good meals, and never felt any different than the other kids.

"He enjoyed the life he had," his mother said. "It was the simple things."

The life cut short, however, was never free of the episodes. They began before he was a year old, and relief never came over the next eight years, not through diet, surgery, medication or from any medical specialist across the West. Nothing could be done.

"It wasn't in the heavenly Father's plan," Natalie said.

But Conner blessed the family the moment he got there, too.

Natalie and her husband, Bryan, had been trying to have children for five years before they adopted the boy born On Feb. 10, 2003, in Payson, Utah. Shortly after, the Hayden couple had three daughters of their own, Katie, 7, Brooke, 5, and Brinley, 2. Katie won an essay contest at Fernan Elementary School as well as district-wide when she wrote about her brother for Disability Awareness Week.

A memorial service to celebrate Conner's life will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hayden LDS Stake Center, 2293 W. Hanley Ave. Because Conner couldn't get life insurance, the family is struggling to afford it.

Despite it all, Natalie said the family wouldn't think twice about adopting Conner again. They know Conner's resting now, epilepsy free.

And it's the Little Casanova, the happy go-lucky boy who met Herbie the Love Bug through Wishing Star. It's the kid who called doctors and firefighters his friends, whom they'll remember.

"I would do it a million times over," said Natalie, who pledged to fight epilepsy as best she can the rest of her life. "I would give anything - anything - to have him back."

Info: www.seizurefighters.blogspot.com

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