A house-shaming note inspired neighbors to help this mom whose son is battling cancer

Randa Ragland has a lot happening in her life right now, but an angry note she discovered in her mailbox, with no name or return address, made her take pause. The note shamed Ragland for the outward appearance of her home.

“Neighbor — Please take pride and straighten up the exterior of your house,” the note read. “Your eyesore is affecting the resale value of OUR homes. Who wants to buy a house near you and have to look at that daily?”

The note went on to drop an expletive, followed by “Do better!!!”


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

Ragland had recently learned that her 3-year-old son, Jaxen, who has autism and is nonverbal, is fighting for his life. Jaxen was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. He’s had seven surgeries and has been hospitalized more than 20 times.


In an effort to encourage some kindness and compassion for others, the mom decided to post the note on Facebook and share Jaxen’s story — and explain just how much of their lives they spend in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

The post took off, and all of a sudden, people started arriving at Ragland’s home in Pinson, Alabama. A lawn care service showed up and cut the grass. Strangers appeared and began tidying up the front yard. Someone even brought a chainsaw for the clean-up effort.

Kimberly Davis was one of the neighbors who jumped in to spread the word. She reposted Ragland’s pictures and story and added a few choice words of her own.

“This makes me so Mad for (Randa) to even have to deal with some idiot from her area that isn’t even man/woman enough to say who they are,” Davis wrote. “This Family needs our HELP. So let’s make something happen for this family.”

One of the strangers who showed up at Ragland’s home was still grieving his loss of a child to the very same cancer Jaxen is fighting.

“Words can’t describe what this means to me right now,” Joey Harding, whose 6-year-old daughter LuLu died just a few weeks ago, told CBS. “It’s helping me. It’s helping me cope with losing my daughter. To help another family in need.”

Meanwhile, the family still needs help, so the volunteers are hoping more people will pitch in via Jaxen’s Go Fund Me page.

Go Fund Me / Randa Ragland

“I’m in amazement,” Ragland told CBS 42. “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.”

News, Parenting
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About the Author
Jenn Fields
Jenn Fields serves as Simplemost Media’s managing editor from Colorado, where she worked as a reporter and editor, on staff and as a freelancer, at newspapers and magazines. After earning her master’s from University of Missouri’s journalism school, Jenn worked in community journalism for 10 years, writing and editing for the Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post. Over her 20-year career, she has covered a diverse range of topics, including travel, health and fitness, outdoor sports and culture, climate science, religion and plenty of other fascinating topics.

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