Tragic Death of Inspiring 9-Year-Old Girl Saves 5,000 People

rachel beckwithRachel Beckwith of Bellevue, Washington didn't want presents for her ninth birthday on June 12 -- no Bieber posters, no necklace-making kits, none of that. In lieu of birthday gifts, Rachel asked that her friends and family donate to a charity that provides clean water to children in developing countries. Her goal was to raise $300, but she came $80 short. She just figured she'd raise the rest of the money for her tenth birthday. Then tragedy struck.

Last Wednesday, Rachel was one of six victims of a 14 car pile-up on Interstate 90. As family said their final goodbyes, doctors took her off life support on Saturday. And while Rachel was slipping away, her church wanted to help her reach her fundraising goal, since they knew it meant so much to her.

What happened next gives me chills.

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Over the course of four days, $100,000 had been donated to Rachel's clean water charity. The church effectively used social media to get the word out and people responded, big time. Rachel's selflessness inspired over 1,700 donors to contribute to her beloved cause. The money raised will benefit over 5,000 people.

To read a story like Rachel's is both inspiring and heartbreaking. The fact that her life was taken far too soon, that she seemed to be among the dying breed of people who put others before themselves ... it just doesn't make sense. On the other hand, it's wonderful to hear that Rachel's death wasn't in vain -- the donations that came pouring in are a testament to the contagiousness of benevolence.

A service for Rachel was held last night.

It's not uncommon for mature adults to request a charity donation in lieu of wedding gifts, but it's rare for a 9-year-old to show that sort of altruism. It's so sad that Rachel won't be around to continue her life of goodwill, but her incorruptible humanitarian spirit might be pleased to hear that her initial goal was exceeded by over 33,000 percent.

Out of Rachel's death comes life for those who would die without clean water. Such a special child, and such a special cause.

If you'd like to donate to the cause, visit Rachel's site here.

What do you think?

WATCH the CNN report on Rachel's death and her inspirational act of kindness:

 

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