When Randa Ragland read an anonymous note last month, there was no mistaking the author’s judgment: The sender called her home an eyesore affecting the resale value of other homes and closed by saying, “do better.”
“I opened it and it was pretty much them shaming me for my yard,” Ragland said. “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.”
Instead, her focus has been on her family, especially her son, 3-year-old Jaxen. He’s autistic and he’s non-verbal but a few days before his third birthday is when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage four cancer.
Ragland says Jaxen has been hospitalized over 20 times and has had seven surgeries. She wanted people to know, so she shared his story, and the note, on 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,” Ragland said.
As word spread, an army of strangers mobilized to help. A local lawn care service came to cut her grass and dozens of volunteers tackled everything from picking up supplies for the family to clearing away brush in her yard.
Joey Harding who helped with volunteer efforts, understands the family’s struggle. Just weeks ago, his daughter Lulu died. She was 6 and had the same kind of cancer as Jaxen.
“Words can’t describe what this means to me right now. It’s helping me,” Harding explained. “It’s helping me cope with losing my daughter. To help another family in need.”
The group now calls itself Jaxen’s “Army For Justice” and its mission has rallied strangers from all over the world.
“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.”
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