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Rachel's Cause

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Outside Seattle, a little 9-year-old girl tried to help those suffering from drought and starvation in Africa, foregoing birthday presents so she could raise money for clean drinking water instead.

But just a week ago, Rachel Beckwith died from injuries suffered in a tragic car accident.

But even now... Rachel is still making a difference.

You might think this story starts and ends on the cold shoulder of I-90 near Seattle - where a polka dot cross now marks the spot of a terrible accident.

But it actually started last month just before Rachel Beckwith's 9th birthday. Instead of asking for a gift she wanted to give one; clean water to thirsty kids in far away lands.

"Her big crazy goal, was to raise $300 so that 15 kids in Africa would have clean safe water," said Jeremy Johnson, Assistant Past at Eastlake Community Church

She raised $220; just $80 short of her goal.

She resolved to try again next year.

But then came that accident; too violent for even the biggest of hearts to survive.

"I don't think you have to be a parent to not be able to wrap your mind around this intense pain. We all want to do whatever we can," said a friend.

The best memorial they figured was to keep Rachel's water drive going.  So they did; and then came the flood.

The tally grew.  First by the day, then by the minute.

The owner of this hair salon in Yorba Linda California donated, because he says, Rachel's story, mattered.

"It just amazes me that someone who is a 9 year old girl- small child- can have such a monumental impact," said Bob Bakke, owner of Salon Edge.

Well over $600,000 has been donated in Rachel's name. Charity Water has never seen anything like it.

"A little girl with a dream of helping others, considering about themselves, inspiring 10's of thousands of others to give," said Scott Harrison, CEO of Charity Water.

If there's any consolation for her inconsolable parents, it may be that their daughter touched more lives by 9 years old, than most of us, will in a lifetime.

Donations to Charity Water can be made through their website

Lee Cowan
NBC News

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