Franklin Graham, the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the global charity Samaritan's Purse revealed on Tuesday that he underwent specialized heart surgery on Monday and is expected to fully recover. The conservative North Carolina evangelical shared details of his recent health condition and his optimism for spreading God's Word in 2022 in a recent social media post.
The 69-year-old Graham shared on Facebook that he had developed constrictive pericarditis, a condition defined by Healthline as a "long-term, or chronic, inflammation of the pericardium...the sac-like membrane that surrounds the heart. Inflammation in this part of the heart causes scarring, thickening, and muscle tightening, or contracture."
Graham wrote that he underwent specialized heart surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where his pericardium was removed.
"We thank God that it went well," Graham wrote of the experience while commending the doctors who helped him through his operation, the Christian Headlines reported. "The team here at Mayo Clinic does such an incredible job-I couldn't speak more highly of them."
Graham added that his doctors advised him to "expect a full recovery and will be able to return to my normal ministry schedule," sharing that he "[looks] forward to many opportunities around the world in 2022 to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and ride his motorcycle in the Springtime next year.
"I appreciate everyone's prayers," Graham wrote.
According to the Washington Post, the conservative evangelist is one of President Donald Trump's most ardent supporters and was frequently a guest at the Trump administration's White House. Unlike other conservative leaders, however, Graham was an early proponent of the COVID vaccines and had his entire family vaccinated.
Graham's evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, Samaritan's Purse, even put together half a dozen mobile field hospitals all over the world to help treat those who were infected with COVID. The evangelist and missionary has a busy schedule in 2022, as he is set to fly to South Yorkshire, England for a preaching event at Sheffield's Utilita Arena.
Graham was supposed to hold the event in June but was met with backlash from community groups, religious leaders, and politicians in Sheffield who claimed that the evangelist's views on topics such as LGBT and abortion were rather extreme.
According to the Sheffield Telegraph, the Sheffield Council came together with the Sheffield City Trust trustees, which oversee the Arena and came to the conclusion that they would not let Graham hold his preaching event at the venue.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association then filed a legal claim for breaking the contract. However, the dispute was settled off court and the Sheffield Council announced that "The parties are content that the dispute has been resolved and are content with the confidential terms agreed."
As part of the settlement, Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will carry on with the event on May 25, 2022.