Instead of asking for gifts like most girls turning nine, Rachel Beckwith only asked that her friends and family donate to Charity: Water so that more children would live to see their fifth birthday. When her own birthday arrived on June 12, she had raised $220 — a very admirable amount, but $80 short of her goal.
Sadly, Rachel was involved in a serious car accident. She spent three days in the hospital before passing away on July 23, 2011, just a little more than a month after her ninth birthday.
In the days following, thousands of people visited Rachel’s Charity Water Page to donate money to her campaign and leave messages for Rachel and her family. On the page, Rachel wrote about her reason for starting the fundraising campaign:
“On June 12th 2011, I’m turning 9. I found out that millions of people don’t live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn’t have access to clean, safe water so I’m celebrating my birthday like never before. I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is “proved” when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. My goal is to raise $300 by my birthday, June 12, 2011. Please consider helping me.”
Though it is sobering to read this message in light of Rachel’s passing, there is much inspiration to be taken from the comments beneath it. Thousands of people have donated, and beside their donations they have left their sympathies and well wishes.
UPDATE: Her initial campaign is now closed. The final donation total was 1,265,823.
Rachel’s mother Samantha posted a message thanking everyone for their donations and kind words:
“I am in awe of the overwhelming love to take my daughters dream and make it a reality. In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope. Thank you for your generosity! I know Rachel is smiling!”
More than $160,000 worth of the donations were raised by Rachel’s church. It was at this church that Charity: Water’s co-founder came to speak, thus inspiring Rachel to start her campaign. Visit Rachel’s Charity: Water for information on how you can help continue the legacy left by 9 year old girl.