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Supporting Rachel Held Evans' Family

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UPDATE May 4, 2019:

It is with a broken heart that we share with you that Rachel Held Evans died early this morning. She took a serious turn on Thursday morning and deteriorated quickly. Rachel died in the very early morning hours of May 4, 2019. She was surrounded by her family and her close friends - we sang and we prayed and we held her always. We are grateful for your prayers and for all the ways you have supported not only her but her family especially Dan and the kids.

Dan has posted an official update here:

Here is that update:
May 4th, 2019 Update
"Rachel was slowly weaned from the coma medication. Her seizures returned but at a reduced rate. There were periods of time where she didn’t have seizures at all. Rachel did not return to an alert state during this process. The hospital team worked to diagnose the primary cause of her seizures and proactively treated for some known possible causes for which diagnostics were not immediately available due to physical limitations. Early Thursday morning, May 2, Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals. The team at the hospital discovered extensive swelling of her brain and took emergency action to stabilize her. The team worked until Friday afternoon to the best of their ability to save her. This swelling event caused severe damage and ultimately was not survivable.

Rachel died early Saturday morning, May 4, 2019.

This entire experience is surreal. I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story. I cannot express how much the support means to me and our kids. To everyone who has prayed, called, texted, driven, flown, given of themselves physically and financially to help ease this burden: Thank you. We are privileged. Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her.

- Dan." 

This article by Ruth Graham at Slate will be Dan's only other public statement at this time. Please give their family the space and time to grieve this tremendous, devastating loss. Here is the link

***Original Post****

During treatment for an infection, our friend Rachel Held Evans began exhibiting unexpected symptoms. Doctors found that her brain was experiencing constant seizures. She is currently in the ICU in a medically induced coma while the doctors work to determine the cause and solution.

At this time, we anticipate a long road ahead. 

As her friends, family, loyal readers, and people who love and care about her, this is one way we can help to support Dan, Rachel, and their children as their lives have been upended. Medical costs are mounting. We want to help with those as well as all the accumulating expenses that even decent medical insurance won't cover. So many of us would love to do something tangible, like cook a meal or assist with child care, pay for gas to the hospital or clean their house. This is a way for us to gather around the Evanses, making that happen together from many locations around the world. 

Official health updates from Dan are over at but we will be updating here as well.  

The outpouring of love and support for Rachel online through #PrayForRHE has been powerful and encouraging. We will be gathering up many of your posts and tweets into a document to share with the Evans family.

If you wish to write a personal card or letter to Rachel or to her family, please send it to:  

The Evans Family
c/o Chaffee Management
5020 Burke Trail
Nolensville, TN
37135 USA

Thank you,
Sarah Bessey, Jeff Chu, and Jim Chaffee
in cooperation with Dan Evans

UPDATE(April 22, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific): The outpouring of support has been overwhelming. We've upped our goal in response to your generosity. Saying "thank you" feels inadequate but seriously THANK YOU. #PrayForRHE

UPDATE (April 24, 2019 at 4:10 p.m. Pacific): Our GoFundMe goal has been met! Together, across our spectrums of belief and practice and place, you all did this for Rachel and her family. Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a powerful thing. At this time, we will leave the GoFundMe up so that everyone who wishes to give is able to do so. We all know that the unexpected expenses can be overwhelming and so anything over and above our goal will be used well, we are sure. But we won't be changing the goal again.  At this time, the news about Rachel remains the same. Please continue to pray/hold her in your thoughts.

UPDATE (April 26, 2019): From Dan, "Rachel is still in a medically induced coma to prevent continuous seizure activity. She is not being treated for an infection at this time. She is being treated for the seizure activity. At this point the best explanation I have received for the cause of her condition is “compounding factors.” Yesterday, due to Dr recommendation, Rachel was transferred by air to a different hospital. This is the third facility we’ve been to. To everyone who has risen up to walk this road with us in person, by phone, and online: My family can’t thank you enough. We are honored by your support and encouragement."

UPDATE (April 28, 2019): From Dan: "Rachel is still in the induced coma which aids in preventing seizures. However, coma is not a long term solution and there are risks associated with continuing to induce coma. There are still tests outstanding for which we don’t yet have results. Drs are working to find a combination of medications to allow them to wean her from the coma medication without seizures restarting."

UPDATE (April 30, 2019): From Dan: "The neurology team at the hospital is weaning Rachel off of the coma medication. This is a multi-day process that started a few days ago. This is not the first attempt at weaning but it is the first attempt at the current facility. Our hope is that she has had time to heal, the medications used are helpful, and the seizures won’t start again."


  • Tricia Stone
    • $100 
    • 5 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Sarah Styles Bessey
Dayton, TN
Daniel Evans

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