Christian music artist Nathan Johnson and his wife Megan welcomed their first child, Eilee Kate, early in the morning of Tuesday June 27th. The young family was together for a total of eight hours before pregnancy-related complications tragically claimed Megan’s life.
Fellow Christian artist Josh Wilson tells The Tennessean that Johnson sent him a photo of the three of them looking happy shortly after the birth, but that was quickly followed up by a text message asking for prayers. "Of course we didn't know what it meant, so we stopped what we were doing and just prayed." Wilson said.
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A day later, Johnson took Eilee home to the Nashville home he had shared with his wife of six years. Hoping to cushion some of the new dad’s financial strain, Wilson and a group of 30 family and friends pooled together to raise $12,000 via a text message chain. Seeing how eager people were to contribute, Wilson set up a GoFundMe campaign in case there were out-of-town friends looking to help. In no time, what started as a relatively modest group soon became a massive fundraising effort, and in less than 24 hours they raised $300,000 for the grieving dad and his daughter.
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Wilson told The Tennessean that the original goal was to raise $40,000. They hoped that would give Johnson roughly six months away from touring to cover bills and other expenses. But after thousands of dollars rolled in in just a few hours, Wilson decided to raise the goal to $100,000. Shortly after that he increased it again, this time to $150,000.
Wilson's latest goal is $400,000, which the campaign surpassed with ease over Fourth of July weekend. Wilson said Johnson “wept” when he heard the news.
Friends say that Wilson is still grieving, though the outpouring of support from loved ones and strangers alike has given him hope. “He’s so over the moon for his daughter, but you can see grief has hit him at the same time,” Christian artist Francesca Battistelli, who played with Johnson in more than 30 gigs over the past, year told The Tennessean.
"Nate is a believer in Jesus,” Wilson added. “We have grieved in hope, but we believe Meg is with Jesus and one day we will be too, so that is how we grieve with hope."
Megan, who was a heart transplant recipient and a strong advocate for organ donation, will live on through others. Wilson told The Tennessean that her eyes will go to help the blind and other organs will help save more than 50 lives. "She gave her ultimate donation to her daughter, but she's also help saving 52 lives," Wilson said. "That's unbelievable."
You can donate to the Johnson family here.