Rachel Beckwith is pictured on a donation jar outside Liquid Lime in Kirkland. People from around the area gathered at the restaurant July 28 for a benefit concert to support the family of the girl who died in an accident on Interstate 90 last week. But the amazing part is how much impact one little girl has had on one charity.
At post time, businesses and individuals had contributed about $13,000 for the family’s hospital bills and other expenses. The concert alone raised more than $5,000. The family attends Eastlake Church in Bothell.
Lisa Lane of Kirkland, friend of Samantha Paul, Rachel’s mom who was injured in the accident and is recovering well, said: “For this tonight, all these kids grew up together and a lot of them know these people. I think people wanted to be a part of it and do something. When there’s a tragedy, you want to do something. It’s simple, simple stuff — it’s necessary.”
Jen Pamplona is a friend of one of the performers and came to support the cause.
“There’s so many people who are coming together,” said Pamplona. “They don’t know any of these people (the family), and they’re just here to help somebody out in a time of need and tragedy. I think it’s an amazing thing to witness.”
Beckwith’s death has resulted in an outpouring of love and donations for the girl’s favorite charity. Her 9th Birthday Wish donations have gained more than $775,000 from people around the world and still counting.
Pastor Jeremy Johnson of Eastlake Church in Bothell poured his heart out when describing one of his churchgoers – Beckwith.
“She was a champion,” he said in a video message on the church’s Web site.
Beckwith, who was from Issaquah, died of head trauma and spinal-cord trauma July 23 at Harborview Medical Center after she, her mother and younger sister, Sienna, were involved in a 13-car pile up on July 20. Sienna wasn’t injured and her mother has made a full recovery.
“It’s such devastating news,” the pastor continued. “I was able to be with the family several different times at Harborview (last) week.”
Rachel, who celebrated her 9th birthday June 12, was set to be baptized July 31; she was baptized in the hospital. A memorial service was held July 31 at the church.
What stands out about Rachel, Johnson noted, is that for her 9th birthday wish, she partnered with charity instead of asking for presents. A goal of raising $300, to help supply clean drinking water to children in African villages, has been exceeded beyond anyone’s expectations. She hit $220, and “while most people would have considered this a success, Rachel wasn’t satisfied. She immediately determined that next June, on her 10th birthday, she would figure out a way to raise more money,” read a message on the church’s Web site.
In Rachel’s honor, Eastlake churchgoers and many other people who have heard about her story are continuing her dream. More than 21,000 people have donated money.
Johnson added that Rachel wanted to “make a difference around the world and bring water to people who didn’t have any.”
“It is amazing to me that little Rachel, all the way over here in Washington, will be the reason that so many children on the other side of the world get to live into adulthood,” read a Facebook message.
Eastlake pastors Johnson and Ryan Meeks are pleased to see the overflowing support for the family and the water crisis.
“Our primary focus now is to make sure that the family doesn’t have to incur crippling expenses related to medical or funeral bills. It is to this that we now direct our energies,” they wrote on the church’s Web site. “We are so thankful for all the outpouring of support and love for this special girl and the hope that is being dispensed because of her.”
The concert in Kirkland has helped in that goal.
To donate, visit http://www.mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=16396 and a Band of Brothers NW, a growth group made up of Eastlake Church members, is accepting donations for the family at http://bobnw.org/.