UPDATE [7/2/2017, 8:04 p.m. ET]:
As of this minute, Josh Wilson’s GoFundMe campaign for bandmate Nathan Johnson has reached its goal of $400,000 funding. Wilson has yet to post a new update on the GoFundMe page to acknowledge the milestone.
7/2/2017, 5:21 a.m. ET:
An update posted by Wilson after the $400,000 funding goal was reached states that everyone is still welcome to give more money, even if he won’t be raising the goal any further. According to Josh, Nathan Johnson is “blown away” and “humbled and grateful” by the success of the fundraiser. Wilson added that he and his wife have both signed up to be organ donors, just as Nathan’s late wife Megan would have likely wanted.
Original report below:
Earlier this week, the story of 31-year-old Megan Moss Johnson tugged at the heartstrings of readers, as the heart transplant survivor and new mother died just hours after giving birth to her child, Eilee Kate. But there may be a silver lining for her grieving husband, Christian musician Nathan Johnson, as a fundraiser for his and Eilee’s living expenses is nearing its recently-reset goal of $400,000.
On Friday, People was one of many publications to report on the heartbreaking story of Nathan and Megan Johnson, the latter of whom had cheated death several times in previous years, and received a heart transplant in 2010. As Megan gave birth to her first daughter, Eilee Kate Johnson, on Tuesday, everything appeared to be on the right track, as Instagram posts from Nathan celebrated the fact that Megan’s heart “worked perfectly” throughout the delivery of the newborn child.
Sadly, the joyous moments were short-lived, as Megan Johnson suffered an unexpected setback at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, some seven hours after Eilee was born. The young mother died about an hour later from still-unspecified causes, only 31-years-old.
In the days since their story became public, friends, family, and complete strangers have been stepping up for Nathan Johnson, through a fundraising campaign shared by Nathan’s bandmate, Josh Wilson, on GoFundMe. As Wilson pointed out on the campaign page, the original goal was to raise $40,000, which would have allowed Nathan to take a break from touring for at least six months, while helping him pay for food and other necessities as he tries to raise his daughter and recover from the tragedy.
In just a few hours, the Nathan Johnson fundraiser exceeded the original goal, which prompted Josh Wilson to raise the funding requirement to $100,000. When that goal was ultimately met, it was amended to $150,000. As of this writing, the goal is at $400,000, with a total of 8,446 people having pledged $392,785 in the four days since the campaign went live.
According to Wilson, the fact that people have pledged a much greater amount of money than what was originally hoped for means even bigger things going forward, such as possibly paying for Eilee Kate Johnson’s college education.
“Posting another update. This page has been live for less than 24 hours. You all have raised a quarter of a million dollars. I can’t quit crying. Nathan and Eilee, we love you. Meg, we miss you. I’m raising the goal again. We’re sending this girl to college.”
While strangers are still pledging even small amounts of money to Nathan Johnson’s fundraiser, there have also been some critical comments popping up in recent days. One commenter on the People article said that she acknowledges the need for money and empathizes with Nathan for his loss, but doesn’t get why so much cash is needed, considering that Nathan has a job, and that widowers should ideally have other tools at their disposal when trying to provide for babies who just lost their mothers.
“Why does her widower need $350,000? Or $30,000? He has a job, and there is family to help with the baby. I think donated breastmilk is free? Baby clothes are available at garage sales and swap meets and at Goodwill (they outgrow them so fast anyway). Is the money for a funeral?”
Still, the important thing is that support is still coming in, and if things continue at their present rate, Nathan Johnson’s fundraising campaign on GoFundMe should reach its goal before the week is over.
[Featured Image by Sveta Lagutina/Shutterstock]