Rachel Beckwith never lived to see her birthday wish to bring clean water to Africa come true. But her mother and thousands of those in need soon will.
Last June, the 9-year-old girl from Bellevue, Wash., dedicated what would be her final birthday to raising money for charity: water, a nonprofit that builds wells in developing countries, according to CNN. A month later, Rachel was killed in a car crash, but donors raised more than $1 million to keep her mission alive and her mother will soon get to see how far it's come, NBC reports.
Rachel's mom, Samantha Paul, her church pastor and other supporters are planning to visit the Tigray region of Ethiopia to see the communities that now have potable water, thanks to Rachel's plea.
"I'm going to be happy and excited to see the people and what they've received," Paul told King5.com of her upcoming visit. "I'll be sad that Rachel isn't here to see it. But I'm sure that more than anything I'll feel blessed for what I do have."
The charitable little girl was first inspired to give up her birthday presents to raise money for charity:water after the organization's founder spoke of his work at her church, according to CNN.
Rachel set a goal of raising $300 for the nonprofit and explained why the cause was so important to her on her fundraising page.
"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 was just $80 short of her goal when tragedy struck.
While driving with her two daughters last July, Paul's car was rear-ended by a semitrailer, according to the Seattle Times. Rachel was critically injured and taken off life support days later.
After Rachel passed away, news of her selfless cause spread across social networks and the world, inspiring donors to give $1.2 million -- an amount that will help more than 60,000 people and 200 communities in parts of Africa that are often struck by famine, according to charity:water.
Now, a year after her daughter's untimely death, Rachel's mom will get to see the very wells that are bringing life to those desperate for a basic life source.
"The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is seeing the actual wells where the people, because of Rachel, are going to be able to have clean water," Paul told NBC, "seeing other 9-year-old children and their moms knowing that they're going to have a 10th, 11th and 12th birthday and so on because of Rachel's heart."
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