The clean water fundraising campaign started by nine-year-old Rachel Beckwith, who died last month in a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 90, has now passed $1 million.
Rachel, of Issaquah, died last month several days after suffering head and spinal injuries in a multi-vehicle pileup that started when a semi truck struck a logging truck on Interstate 90. The crash sent seven people to local hospitals.
The story of her campaign went viral, appearing online in news organizations around the world, with donations skyrocketing to more than $300,000 a week after the accident.
Charity: Water reported earlier this month that Rachel's campaign has set fundraising records for the nonprofit.
"We've all been so deeply moved by Rachel's unselfishness…Rachel thought helping children in need to get access to clean water was more important than celebrating her birthday. Through this generous act, she has taught us all so much about the true spirit of giving," said the nonprofit's CEO and founder Scott Harrison in a statement.
After announcing that Rachel would not survive her injuries, pastors from her church, EastLake Community Church, which is based in Bothell, encouraged people to remember Rachel by donating to her Charity: Water campaign, which raises money to help communities in developing nations find clean water.
Rachel didn't ask for gifts and asked people to donate to the campaign for her ninth birthday last month. (Click here for her Charity: Water website.)
Rachel did not reach her $300 goal by her birthday, but today, about three weeks after her death, her campaign has reached topped $1 million, according to her website.
Her original goal of $300 would have helped 15 people or 3 families, according to Charity: Water's website. The $1 million will serve 50,169 people, according to Charity: Water. About 26,000 people donated amounts ranging from $9 to hundreds of dollars.
Several news organizations, including Bellevue Patch, . While she was in the hospital, campaigns went up to more than $24,000. Some national organizations, including MSNBC and CNN, carried the news on their websites, and donations are coming in nationally as well.
People continue to raise money on behalf of her campaign, with Lucky Strike Lanes planning for a fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday Aug. 14.
Rachel's mother, Samantha Paul, thanked visitors for their donations and support on Rachel's Charity: Water webpage.
"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!" she wrote.
Last week, Harrison and Paul appeared on CBS's The Early Show to talk about Rachel and her campaign. Click here to see the report.
Rachel was a passenger in a 1998 Lexus ES3 sedan driven by her mother when it was one of the vehicles struck in a multiple-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 on Wednesday that started when a semi-truck crashed inot the rear axle of a logging truck, causing the logging truck to fishtail, according to the Washington State Patrol.
On its blog, EastLake Community Church also encouraged people to help Rachel's family by donating toward her medical expenses here:
Church teaching and leadership team member Jeremy Johnson said in a video that Rachel asked people to donate to the charity, which helps people find safe sources of drinking water in Africa, as a birthday gift.
"As she turned 9, she wanted to give her birthday to Charity: Water, so she could make a difference around the world and bring water to people who didn’t have any," he said.
He said Rachel was disappointed because she didn’t quite receive the $300 for her ninth birthday goal and already was preparing to get ready to raise money for her tenth birthday.