When you have a child with health challenges, you likely don’t have tons of time to spend on yardwork. One mom, whose son has cancer, is speaking out (and inspiring her neighbors to pitch in) after receiving an anonymous note asking her to clean up the exterior of her house.
Randa Ragland and her husband have five kids and live in Pinson, Alabama. Ragland’s youngest son, Jaxen, is 3 years old and currently undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops from nerve cells in several areas of the body. He is also autistic and nonverbal. Last week, Ragland received an anonymous note from a neighbor, who implored her to “do better” and “straighten up” the exterior of her house because it’s “affecting the resale value” of other homes:
Please take pride and straighten up the exterior of your house. Your eyesore is affecting the resale value of OUR homes. Who wants to buy a house near you and look at that daily? It does not take that much effort, all you have to do is give a shit. Do better!!!
Photo courtesy of Jaxen’s Army for Justice Facebook page
Ragland shared a picture of the note on Facebook and explained Jaxen’s diagnosis and the message she hoped whoever sent it would hear:
My son has literally been fighting for his life. He has been hospitalized more than 20 times had over 7 surgeries. He is truly the bravest person I know. I say all of this to say. Try being kind to your neighbor or the stranger you let in when there’s traffic. Say hello to people. Just kindness. It’s crazy how things like this can truly change a person. Because just a year ago. I would of been so angry from this note. But I truly don’t have the energy for that kind of negativity. Maybe the owner of this note might see this. And maybe not. But either way I feel this may touch someone and that is enough in itself.
After Ragland posted the note on Facebook, friends came together to form a Facebook group called Jaxen’s Army for Justice, where they organized clean-up crews to come to Ragland’s house and take care of her front and backyard. As the story has gone viral, people have also donated money and household and school supplies. The Facebook group now has more than 800 members.
Since October – Randa Ragland has been helping her 3-year-old son battle stage 4 cancer. Last week she received an anonymous letter telling her to take better care of her yard. That's when neighbors and strangers stepped in.STORY: http://bit.ly/31noNlw
Posted by Stephen Quinn on Monday, August 5, 2019
“Everyone thank you. For ALL of this Beautiful Support!!! You all have blessed MY FAMILY so much. In just a few days. This makes my heart feel good so good,” Ragland wrote in the Facebook group in response to the outpouring of support her family received. “My husband is actually getting his faith back in God from all this. Just thank you.”
When a family is going through cancer, oftentimes the most valuable gift you can give is to help them with everyday household chores they don’t have the energy or time to do, but still need to get done. On top of medical bills and being a full-time caregiver, it’s often not possible for families to hire help.
If you know someone coping with cancer (or any other serious illness), check out more gift ideas recommended by our Mighty cancer community. The key is to offer specific ways you can help, rather than just saying, “Let me know what you need.”
For more advice about how to support a loved one with cancer, read these stories:
- My Dos and Don’ts for Supporting Someone With Cancer
- When I Said the ‘Wrong’ Thing to a Cancer Patient’s Parent
- To the Mom Whose Child Just Received a Cancer Diagnosis