Rachel was the only person critically injured in a 14-car accident last Wednesday in Bellevue, Washington where her family lived. She was taken to the hospital, but sadly her injuries were fatal and she was removed from life support on Saturday night.
Along with the sad news, the world began to hear about the inspiring wish Rachel had made for her ninth birthday in June: She wanted family members and friends to donate to charity: water, a non-profit providing clean water to developing countries, instead of giving her presents or money. She even set up a page on which people could donate to the organization. On it, she said “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.”
Rachel had first heard about charity:water at EastLake Community Church, where a benefit concert for charity:water had been held in September raising over $300,000.
By her birthday, Rachel’s page had brought in $220, $80 short of her $300 goal. But now, something truly amazing has happened. Donation after donation has poured in and her page now shows 10,598 donations totaling $409,650 and serving clean water to over 10,722 people. Her mother wrote on her donations page on Monday, “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!”
If you would like to donate in honor of Rachel and her birthday wish to bring the world safe water, you can donate here.