A GoFundMe campaign is going viral as thousands seek to help the family of Megan Moss Johnson, a heart-transplant recipient who tragically died just hours after giving birth. In less than 24 hours, more than a quarter million dollars was raised to help her husband, Nathan Johnson, and their baby Eilee.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. A GoFundMe for Megan Moss Johnson’s Family Surpassed $350,000 in Two Days
In less than 24 hours, more than $250,000 was donated to help Megan Moss Johnson’s family, and at the time of publication that amount had already surpassed $351,000. More than 7,400 people donated in two days, moved by Megan’s story and determined to help her family in any way they could.
The GoFundMe account was started by Josh Wilson, who is in a band with Nathan Johnson. He started the GoFundMe to raise money so Nathan could get off the road for at least six months and be home with his daughter.
Let’s cover his bills and meals so he doesn’t have to think about any of that. Let’s sleep over at his house and feed sweet Eilee so Nate can rest. Please consider giving money, meals, prayer, or your own sleep so we can show Nate and Eilee how much we love them.”
People who learned about Nathan and Megan offered to help any way they could. One commenter said that he had lost his wife one day after she gave birth to their third child and he was available to talk to Nathan if he ever needed advice.
2. Megan Passed Away Just Hours After Giving Birth to Eilee
Megan was so excited about the prospect of being a mother. Her profile picture was a beautiful photo of her as a pregnant mom-to-be, carrying her beloved dog.
She died just hours after giving birth. Although a cause of death was not released, posts from friends reveal that her passing was very unexpected. On the GoFundMe set up for her family, Josh Wilson wrote that she gave birth to Eilee Kate at 2:40 a.m. and the delivery was “beautiful and smooth.” She and Nathan spent about six hours with their new baby. Nathan even posted a happy message on Instagram that read: “Happy Birthday Eilee Kate Johnson. Megan was/is a professional and feels great. Her heart worked perfectly the whole time and Eilee introduced herself quickly and smooth. I am a rich man!!!”
But around 9 or 10 a.m., she started to have trouble and by 11 a.m., she had died.
Josh wrote on GoFundMe: “Needless to say, Nathan is devastated. There are no words for this, so I won’t really say much more. Here is what I know. Nathan is a wonderful man and an amazing father. He loves his daughter dearly.”
STL Today reported that pregnancies for heart transplant patients are considered so high-risk for the babies and the moms that mothers are advised not to get pregnant the first year after the transplant. But it had been nearly seven years for Megan.
3. Megan Needed a Transplant Seven Years Ago After a Virus Damaged Her Heart
Megan wasn’t born with a heart defect or any kind of congenital condition. She developed heart problems after catching a virus when she was only 15. She was an athlete at the time, playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer, STL Today reported. But then suddenly she started getting out of breath just walking up the stairs. Her doctors thought she had asthma until they took a chest X-Ray and realized she had myocarditis (heart inflammation). She took heart medication, graduated high school, and was working on her bachelor’s degree while also holding down a hospitality job at the Ritz-Carlton.
But then in November 2009, her stamina got worse again and doctors discovered that she had congestive heart failure. She got sicker and sicker and was put on a transplant list in February 2010. In April, she was connected to a machine that pumped blood for her, but then she got pneumonia.
Doctors said she was took sick for a transplant. Her mom told STL Today that she gave her daughter over to God, ready to release her “if her time on earth was done.” But 12 hours later, her condition improved and she had a successful heart transplant at the age of 23.
She Often Thought About Her Heart Donor: “I Hope Jesus Is Holding You In His Lap Right Now”
Megan wrote on her blog that she often thinks about her heart donor on April 17, the anniversary of her transplant:
I am extremely grateful for her gift. However, I am so saddened for the family that lost their dear loved one. I ache knowing that I am here and she is not. I constantly am reminded at how God has a plan for my life, but still I am wondering what that plan is? I feel different when April comes around and no one really close to me understands. I should be happy and jumping around, but I feel like it is an anniversary of someone I lost. In a way it kind of is right? I have a part of that person in me. I can feel her heart beat in my chest. It is a remarkable, yet difficult feeling knowing I am here because of someone else’s life. I ache for her. My heart is sad for her and her family. I truly hope one day her family will know how much I appreciate her/their special gift.”
Megan often talked about her faith on her blog. She said that when she was in the hospital, she felt “a calmness provided by my Heavenly Father in a time that could have been so different.”
Earlier in her blog, she talked about how her favorite quote was “Come what may,” and explained why:
Through this I demonstrate that Christ IS enough. Come what may… I found this quote sometime around October 2009. … I wanted to live my life by this quote. I wanted to really rely on Christ through any and every situation life brought my way. Then, the end of November 2009 came and I was diagnosed with severe Congestive Heart Failure. … I had to choose the attitude I was going to take towards this situation. I had to come to the realization that Christ is worth more than life itself. This simple phrase stuck with me through my entire ordeal. It helped me understand that Christ really is worth more than life, instead of focusing on why I am going through it.
Through this…Through my life…Through everything… I demonstrate that Christ IS enough. Thank you, Father, for giving me this quote when I needed it the most. Help me to live by it every day.”
Her story inspired other transplant survivors, who are now posting online about her life and donating to her family. Here is one person, inspired by her, sharing her story:
She and Her Husband, Nathan Johnson, Were Very Much in Love
Megan and Nathan were very much in love. She wrote on her blog about how they first met. After messaging a lot and meeting up a few times, she told him all about her medical history. She wanted him to know what he was getting into. She said she told him that she was a huge risk, had to take medication several times a day, and might not be able to have children. She wanted him to pray before pursuing anything with her. She said that a week later, he came back to her and told her exactly what she needed to hear. They began dating and later married.
When they married, they moved to Nashville, Tennessee. The two were very, very much in love. In a Facebook photo from their engagement, Nathan commented: “Wish we could go back to this day. What a great day. But so is today, sitting on our computers in our living room, bored.” And Megan wrote back: “I’m not bored. I loved that day, but I’d much rather be where we are today. xox”