By Lee Cowan
Rachel Beckwith had a simple wish for her ninth birthday. No presents. Instead, she wanted people to donate to a charity that provides clean, safe driving water for kids in far away lands. Her goal: $300. She almost made it. By the time her birthday came and went, she had raised $220, just $80 short. She vowed to forgo presents on her birthday next year too, but she never got the chance to try.
Rachel was killed in a chain reaction crash on I-90 outside of Seattle. There was nothing the doctors could do. Rachel's family and friends figured the best memorial was to keep Rachel's water drive going. So they did -- and in came a flood of love and caring.
Her story spread -- on Twitter and Facebook. Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted her millions of fans. So did Seahawk quarterback Matt Hasselback.
Rachel's $220 has now exploded into well over $600,000 and isn't done yet.
She set out to help 15 kids in Africa get clean water -- she's now helping more than 30,000.
If there's any consolation for her inconsolable parents, it may be that their daughter touched more lives by nine years old than most of us will in a lifetime, and in her death she taught the rest of us how to live.