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Supporters of hospitalized Christian author pool funds to cover medical costs

Author Rachel Held Evans speaks at a church in early 2015. Video screenshot

(RNS) — Friends, family and supporters of prominent Christian author Rachel Held Evans are pooling funds to help cover her medical expenses after she was hospitalized over the weekend and placed into a medically induced coma.

Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu, authors and faith leaders who co-curate the Evolving Faith Conference with Evans, called on her supporters to create a Twitter prayer chain on Friday (April 19) as news was spreading on social media that Evans, the mother of two small children, was admitted to the hospital to treat an infection.

According to a statement posted on her website by her husband Dan Evans late last week, Evans began exhibiting unexpected symptoms while in the hospital, at which point doctors discovered her brain was experiencing constant seizures.

Evans was eventually placed into a medically induced coma while doctors determined how to treat her.

Support for Evans poured in online throughout the weekend. By Monday, Bessey, Chu and collaborator Jim Chaffee worked with Dan Evans to create a GoFundMe online fundraising page to help cover the family’s mounting medical costs. Within hours, the campaign was trending on GoFundMe and had raised $25,000.

“At this time, we anticipate a long road ahead,” the campaign description read. “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.”

Dan Evans also posted an update on Evans’ blog about her condition on Monday.

“Rachel is still in a medically induced coma,” his post read. “Drs are working to balance her treatment in an attempt to avoid negative effects of the constant seizures but also avoid possible negative effects of any medications used to sedate her and control them.”

Evans is well-known in religious circles — particularly among progressive Christians — for her blog and best-selling books, which include “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” and “Searching for Sunday.” Her most recent work, “Inspired,” was published in June 2018.

Among other things, Evans has chronicled her journey from an upbringing in conservative evangelical Christianity toward the mainline Episcopal Church.

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