'Do better:' Community rallies around mom caring for son with cancer after neighbor's spiteful note to clean yard

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

PINSON, Ala. -- An Alabama mom said she received a nasty letter from a neighbor telling her to take better care of her yard. No return address, no name, just words.

But while Randa Ragland's yard was falling by the wayside, she had more on her mind than mowing -- her son is battling cancer.

She posted the note on social media and now an entire community is helping to ease her family's burden, reported WIAT.

"I opened it and it was pretty much them shaming me for my yard," Ragland said.

At one point the sender wrote that "your eyesore is affecting the resale value of our homes" and that she needed to "do better."

"At first I felt a little angry but so much had been going on with us and our family. I just didn't have the energy to be negative," she said.

Ragland said her focus has been on her family, especially her son Jaxen.

"He's autistic and he's non-verbal but a few days before his 3rd birthday is when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma stage four cancer," Ragland said.

In his three years of life Jaxen has been hospitalized over 20 times and has had seven surgeries. With that in mind, Ragland shared the note she received and Jaxen's story to Facebook,

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

The next thing she knew a lawn care service arrived at her home and cut her grass, no questions asked. But it didn't stop there. 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 -- all of them complete strangers.

"Look at this. This is love. This is love for a stranger. We don't even know these people," said volunteer Joey Harding.

For Harding this all has a very different meaning to him. Less than two weeks ago, he said goodbye to his six year old daughter Lulu for the last time. She had the exact same form of cancer that Jaxen has.

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

The group has dubbed themselves "Jaxen's Army for Justice." They're in this one for the long haul and intend to be there for the family every step of the way, supporters told WIAT.

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

Ragland said every person who showed up to clean her home was a complete stranger to her.

The family is still in need of support. To assist with Jaxen's medical bills, donate to the family's GoFundMe page here.