SEATTLE -- Contributions for the final wish of a 9-year-old girl who died from injuries in a car crash last week continue to pour in, bringing the amount donated to her charity to more than $600,000 Thursday.
With two fundraisers planned in the coming weeks by friends of Rachel Beckwith's family, the generosity of those inspired by Rachel's story is expected to grow.
Rachel Beckwith had just turned nine when she was critically injured, her spinal cord severed in a multiple car pile-up on Interstate 90. Rachel's mother received a minor head injury and her 18-month-old sibling was not injured in the crash. The side of the car in which Rachel was riding unfortunately beared the brunt of the force of the crash.
On Saturday, her parents took her off life-support.
Rachel's family said she did have a final wish. For her birthday in June, she told everybody she didn’t want any presents. She wanted people to donate to Charitywater.org, a group that drills wells and brings fresh water to people in developing countries.
Rachel raised $220, pretty good for a 9-year-old but $80 short of her goal.
"No problem," she told her family. "Next year for a tenth birthday I’ll just work harder and raise more!"
She didn’t get that chance of course, but boy, is she raising more money.
Her church Pastor Ryan Meeks said Rachel seemed to naturally recognize when people needed help.
“I think that’s incredibly mature for anybody, let alone a child of nine,” Meeks said.
Rachel's donation page was re-opened when she was in the hospital. By the time KING 5’s Elisa Hahn told her story Friday night, news Rachel’s total was up to $6,000. Monday evening it climbed past $140,000. By Thursday morning, more than $540,000 had been raised.
Friends of Rachel's family plan to host two fundraisers. A benefit concert show will be held at the Liquid Lime in Kirkland on Thursday, July 28. All proceeds will go toward helping the family cover medical expenses. Donations will also be accepted at the show for Charity: Water.
On Monday August 8, nine stylists at Sorella Salon and Spa in Kirkland will donate all the proceeds raised between 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. to Rachel's charity. People who aren't able to make an appointment can also make donations for Charity: Water at the salon as well.
The cable and broadcast networks have heard about Rachel's story and have run various versions. It spread on Facebook and Twitter with some high-profile help. Actress Alyssa Milano Tweeted it to her million-plus followers, Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselbeck Tweeted too, a New York Times columnist gave it a boost.
“It is something that hits us at our core,” said Pastor Meeks.”There is nothing natural about losing a nine-year-old girl. But there's something that we’re attracted to when life comes out of death.”
And now Rachel Beckwith’s quest to pay for water in far-off lands is a flood of love. People from all over the world have watched, listened, tweeted, messaged, followed, friended and best of all donated. Pastor Meeks sees a simple and obvious lesson in Rachel’s actions, and the world’s response.
“A child teaching us adults that maybe it is that simple. You do what you can.”