A Family Struggling With Son’s Cancer Diagnosis Was Yard-Shamed. Then, a Group of Strangers Pitched in to Help

Jaxen Ragland
Image: GoFundMe

Randa Ragland’s 3-year-old son, Jaxen, is fighting for his life.

“He’s autistic and he’s non-verbal,” Ragland told CBS 42. “But, a few days before his third birthday is when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage four cancer.”

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Since his diagnosis, life has been a blur for the Ragland family. Jaxen has been hospitalized over 20 times throughout his life and has had seven surgeries. Randa’s husband has had to take a leave of absence from work, so he’s not getting a paycheck, and Randa isn’t working. Not to mention that in between hospital trips and praying, the couple has other kids to care for.

So she was crushed to get an anonymous letter in the mail from someone, presumably one of her Pinson, Alabama, neighbors, complaining about her yard.

“I opened it and it was pretty much [the sender] shaming me for my yard,” Ragland told the news station.

Screenshot: CBS 42
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The letter blasted Ragland for not taking care of her yard and not caring about her home. The writer claimed that the Ragland home was an “eyesore” that was “affecting the resale value of our homes,” and that Ragland needed to “do better.”

“At first, I felt a little angry,” she said. “But so much has been going on with us and our family. I just didn’t have the energy to be negative,” CBS 42 reports.

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Ragland decided to share the note on Facebook so that friends might be more considerate and kind to their neighbors.

“My whole point was to show people you don’t know what somebody’s going through,” she said. “Kindness goes such a long way. Gratitude goes such a long way.”

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What Ragland didn’t expect was a bunch of people she didn’t know showing up to clean up her yard and cut her grass and wanting nothing more than to lend a hand to someone who needed the help.

CBS 42 notes that “dozens of volunteers organized and jumped into action. Some rushed to the store to pick up supplies for Ragland’s family. Others grabbed chainsaws and pitched in to tidy up her home.”

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“Look at this! This is love,” said Joey Harding, one of the volunteers. “This is love for a stranger. We don’t even know these people.”

Harding knows exactly what Ragland and her family are going through; just two weeks before he showed up at the Ragland home to lend a hand, he lost his own daughter, LuLu, to the exact same cancer that Jaxen has.

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“Words can’t describe what this means to me right now,” Harding said. “It’s helping me. It’s helping me cope with losing my daughter. To help another family in need.”

The group of strangers now call themselves “Jaxen’s Army for Justice.” They told CBS 42 that this isn’t the last time the Ragland family will see them, as they are prepared to be around to help out throughout Jaxen’s fight.

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“I’m in amazement. I’m still in shock,” Ragland said. “I don’t have a large family. My mom is gone, my dad is gone, my brother is gone, so this means a lot.”

The family still needs support as they are struggling to pay Jaxen’s medical bills and have started a GoFundMe page to help lighten the financial burden.

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The GoFundMe page notes that “any thing that anyone gives” will help. “And even if you don’t donate please say prayers.”

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.