Rachel Beckwith: Girl’s passion to help others lives on

She was trying to help.

Rachel Beckwith decided last spring that her friends should skip the birthday presents and instead help her raise money to provide clean water to African villages. She was trying to raise only $300.

On the page, she wrote this message: “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.”

By the time she turned nine on June 12, she had raised $220. She closed her page.

Rachel didn’t live to see her tenth birthday.

She was killed last week in a 13-car pile-up not far from Seattle. The pastor at her church, Eastlake Community Church, reopened her page. Rev. Ryan Meeks gave Rachel a second chance at her goal.

By Thursday morning, she had raised $518,916 – and counting.

From tragedy, miracles rise like phoenix from ashes.

Her heartfelt effort keeps Rachel alive for her community and for her nation. That moment when she decided to put passion to action meant she would continue to make a difference for people she ever met. Her generosity of spirit should inspire us all.

When the pastor takes the money to whatever country Rachel had in mind, I hope the TV cameras go with him. Or maybe he can call the folks at www.water.org, the charity that actor Matt Damon supports, and they can make the trip for him – and for Rachel.

We’ll be watching – and remembering a little girl whose heart was as big as the world and whose passion could inspire a generation.

Thank you, Rachel.

To contribute to Rachel’s medical bills and her cause to bring water to an African village, visit http://mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=16396.

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