Nonprofit helps family with mortgage payment

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Atlanta nonprofit Join the Flock, Inc. on Dec. 21 presented a Newnan couple with a helping hand. Pictured, from left, are Join the Flock board members Dayna McJenkin and Katie Walton, Beth Johnson, 2-year-old Everett Johnson and Ryan Johnson. Photo/Submitted.
Atlanta nonprofit Join the Flock, Inc. on Dec. 21 presented a Newnan couple with a helping hand. Pictured, from left, are Join the Flock board members Dayna McJenkin and Katie Walton, Beth Johnson, 2-year-old Everett Johnson and Ryan Johnson. Photo/Submitted.

Atlanta nonprofit Join the Flock, Inc. recently helped a Newnan couple by paying their January mortgage payment. That help will offset the healthcare expenses related to the couple’s 2-year-old son, who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.

Nonprofit board member Dayna McJenkin said Beth and Ryan Johnson were nominated by Fayette County resident Kathy Hampton, Beth’s mother.

“We surprised the Johnson’s at their home in Newnan with an envelope containing a letter saying that Join the Flock would be making the Johnson’s mortgage payment for them next month,” McJenkin said. “We got to meet Kathy Hampton and Everett’s sister, Charlotte, along with the family as they told us their story.”

McJenkin said that when he was 2 years old, Everett had a seizure and his MRI revealed a cancerous brain tumor. Everett was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Angiocentric Glioma.

“He underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but because his cancer is so rare and there is little research to support treatment, Everett needs quarterly MRI’s among a battery of other expensive tests and treatments,” McJenkin explained. “But you’d never guess that Everett had a rough way to go. This little guy not only gives high-fives and jumps right into your arms for a hug, he wears a constant, contagious smile that lights up the entire room. The type of smile that radiates sheer joy, just like the one Jennifer Lazo always wore. It’s an honor to welcome Everett and his incredible parents to our flock.”

It was Jennifer and Mario Lazo, along with Keeli and Jamie Simpson, who co-founded Join the Flock. At the time, Jennifer was battling stage four cancer, with a dream of using her platform to support other families impacted by cancer.

With roots in Fayette County, Jennifer was a 1999 Fayette County High School cheerleader and graduate, McJenkin said.

McJenkin said Join the Flock was recently featured on NBC on “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways.

“The Lazo family was chosen by the ‘Ellen Show’ because they founded Join the Flock to help families who were fighting cancer while Jen was fighting cancer herself,” said McJenkin. “Jen was a real estate agent and started raising money to help make mortgage payments for families affected by cancer.  Jen passed away in May, but Mario and our team at Join the Flock are continuing to pay it forward by paying the monthly mortgage for at least one family every month.”

For more information visit www.JoinTheFlockInc.org.