When Randa Ragland received a hateful note about her yard from a neighbour, she had a few other things on her mind.
Her three-year-old son, Jaxen, has been battling cancer since being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma just after his third birthday last October, so finding the note in her mailbox one early August day was likely one of the last things she wanted to receive after the “earth-shattering” news.
“Please take pride and straighten up the exterior of your house. Your eyesore is affecting the resale value of our homes,” the note, shared to Facebook, reads. “It does not take that much effort, all you have to do is give a s**t.”
“At first I felt a little angry but so much had been going on with us and our family,” Ragland, a mom to four, told ABC 7. “I just didn’t have the energy to be negative.”
The Pinson, Ala., native decided to share the note to her personal Facebook page in hopes of inspiring kindness in people.
“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 continued, adding that days later a lawn care service team arrived at her home and cut her grass.
Community member Kimberly Quick Davis saw the note after a friend shared Ragland’s post. Moved by Jaxen’s story, Davis sprung into action.
She created a Facebook page in the boy’s honour to help organize donations and cleanup volunteers.
Joey Harding was one such volunteer who showed up to pitch in. He lost his own daughter, Lulu, to the exact same type of cancer that Jaxen is suffering from.
“Words can’t describe what this means to me right now,” he told ABC 7. “It’s helping me cope with losing my daughter, to help another family in need.”
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According to WHNT News 19, Lulu and Jaxen became friends during treatment.
As a gift to Jaxen, Harding gave Ragland one of Lulu’s special rocks. The rock was painted green with black hearts and had the word “strength” on it.
A GoFundMe fundraising page was started for Jaxen, who’s autistic and non-verbal, nine months ago.
In just three years, he’s been hospitalized over 20 times and has had seven surgeries. Of the US$25,000 goal, more than $15,000 has been raised.