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Community rally for little Miss Ruby Payne

Ruby Payne, right, enjoys a visit from her great aunt Nancy Wills.  Submitted photo

Correction: Please note the family’s correct Facebook page is MeganRFarley. Thank you.

By Jinifer Rae

Freelance Writer

Demonstrating what a real community is made of, area residents are stepping up to the plate—quite literally—on behalf of a little girl and her family now facing hardship.   

A spaghetti lunch will be hosted at the Johnson County Crewette building, 203 Vandilla Street, Mountain City, on Friday, September 2, 2022, from 11-2 pm to raise funds for 5-year-old Miss Ruby Payne.

The spunky little redhead, Ruby, suffered a brain stem injury after complications from a recent hospitalization, turning her world upside down and revealing the family’s unconditional and unquestionable love.

Ruby has been in the hospital since June 13, with her devoted parents by her side, every day, unable to work.

While the time away from employment and the cost of medical care is exhaustive, the family has been receiving support.

Toni Payne, Miss Ruby’s mother, said, “Everyone’s generosity has kept us able to pay our bills. Our every need has been cared for while we have been in the hospital. Even our yard has been mowed.”

Upon discharge, Ruby will go to an out-of-state intensive pediatric rehab facility for specialized physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

When she is strong enough to return home, 24-hour-a-day nursing care will still be required. The family homestead will also need modifications to make accessing the home easier. Of course, all of these necessities are cost prohibitive.

Megan Farley, a close family friend, said, “we are raising money to lessen some of the financial burdens.”

Although the medical situation remains intensive, the people closest to Miss Ruby are inspired by how amazing she is handling it.

“This child is a miracle,” Farley said. “The day the hospital put her tracheotomy in, she was talking.”

Emphasizing how much Ruby cares about others, Farley related a heartwarming moment at the hospital wishing well where Ruby wished “for all the kids that are in the hospital to get better.”

Ruby’s mom affirmed what an inspiration her daughter is to everyone. “She is a miracle, and she is handling it far better than I could,” Toni said.

Farley added that while Ruby does her best to encourage everyone else, she loves getting cards in the mail. “They make her day,” she said.

A special website is available to keep everyone updated on Miss Ruby’s progress, The website was not set up to collect money but for people who do not have social media to stay connected and updated. However, donations can be given on this site.

Currently, more than $11,000 has been donated.

“I want to thank our community for pulling together and helping,” Farley said. “I have never seen a group come together to help someone they have never met. I can’t thank everyone enough. Our county is great!”

Monies in the form of a check payable to Toni Payne can be dropped off at the Johnson County Courthouse, 222 West Main St, or mailed to Miss Ruby Payne C/O Megan Farley P.O. BOX 363, Mountain City, Tennessee 37683-0363. “Anything is appreciated,” Toni said.

In addition to the spaghetti lunch fundraiser, T-Shirts are available for purchase that features a super cute pig, Miss Ruby’s favorite animal. Not just any plain pig, but a cute pig wearing a red polka dot hair bow. The back of the shirt quotes a verse from the Bible book of Proverbs monogrammed, “She is more precious than rubies.”

How apropos that specific verse is; an accurate description of a little girl and how dear she is to everyone around her.

For more information, contact MeganRFarley on