There aren’t many eight year olds that would volunteer to have their family make a charity donation instead of giving them a birthday present. But that’s exactly what little Rachel Beckwith did.
Before her 9th birthday, Rachel told her mum that she would like to ask for donations as birthday gifts to help fund water projects in developing countries so other kids could have clean drinking water. She had seen a presentation from Charity: Water about the about the issues that dirty water caused and decided she really wanted to help. Her goal was to raise $300 and on her fundraising page she explained why…
“I found 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 everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday.”
Sadly, Rachel was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after her 9th birthday. She was also $80 short of her $300 fundraising target – but was hoping to do more the next year.
Word soon spread, and within 24 hours of her passing so many people had heard her story that her donation page reached over $22,000! With a little help from social media and various news stories, Rachel’s birthday wish and ultimately death was soon heard all over the globe. And the donations kept pouring in. Within a few months almost 32,000 people had helped her birthday wish come true and her campaign had generated over $1.2m. Yes $1.2 million!
A year later her mother visited Africa to see firsthand the communities – and people – that had clean drinking water through Charity:Water projects that had been funded because of Rachel. A bittersweet experience no doubt, but one that will have been very heart warming for her Mum. This short video shows Rachel’s mum, Samantha, on her visit to Africa.
This week marks the second anniversary of Rachel’s death. While it’s such a sad story of a happy little girl who was taken from our world much too soon, it’s also an inspirational story of a kind-hearted girl who impacted thousands of people and left a legacy that has made our world a better place.
So this Thank You Thursday, we say, with sincere gratitude, thank you to Rachel for her generosity and selfless nature.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.