Breaking the wall a little bit today. I had always planned on my art blogs being a place were people could escape the world for a little bit and have some fun. I promise to keep that alive here, a place were we can have fun and I can be a crazy drawing fool, but just this once I'm letting reality pour in. I have two little girls, so it's easy to see why this story hits me so hard. I have not been able to really shake it since I read about it.
On July 20th there was a major accident near Seattle on I-90. I had friends who drove past it, and said how awful it looked. They were amazed that no one was killed. Then the reports started coming in of a critically injured little girl. Then shortly after that, even with all the hopes and prayers of everyone who had heard the story, she was taken of life support. She hung on just long enough for her parents to hold and touch her one last time. Her name was Rachel Beckwith, and she had just turned 9.
It seemed like another sad story that we hear too often nowadays. If you ever watch the news, it feels like the world is coming apart at the seems. What hope do we have, what hope do our children have, when our politicians would rather bring our economy crashing down in a dick measuring contest rather than work together for a national good. When corporate profit is placed over human lives. Humanity sometimes feels like it's on it's last legs, and that we're coming to a close. But then little girls like Rachel Beckwith come along and obliterate all those fears.
At age five Rachel heard about Locks of Love and asked to have her then long hair cut and donated to help children with cancer. Her plan was to continually grow out her hair and cut it to donate, and she kept that promise. At age five.
Then when Rachel was going to turn nine she asked that no one give her presents, but instead donate nine dollars to an organization called charity:water for water projects in Africa. Rachel's own words;
On June 12th 2011, I'm turning 9. 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. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations. Even better, every dollar is "proved" when the projects are complete, and photos and GPS coordinates are posted using Google Earth. My goal is to raise $300 by my birthday, June 12, 2011. Please consider helping me.
She raised 220 dollars, a lot for a nine year old girl, but just shy of the 300 she was hoping to raise. She was disappointed, but decided to just try harder the next year. Sadly, that would never come.
When people heard the story of a nine year old girl, who would rather give to others she had never met than receive material gifts herself, they flocked to the site and donated. Currently at the time I'm writing this she has raised 1,256,180 dollars, that will help an estimated 62,809 people in need. Not bad for a nine year old girl.
Her gifts go beyond that though, her organs were donated and a man who had been waiting five years for a kidney was a match for one of Rachel's. “I received a gift that you can't even describe how big it was. I had my life returned to me and as repayment to Rachel, I plan to carry her charitable torch for the rest of my life.” Mark was given life; and for this cycnical Dad of two little girls, she gives hope.
So this is why I decided to post this here, ultimately this isn't a sad story. It's a very positive one, because if a nine year old girl can figure this out, then there's hope for the rest of us as well.
We're better than we think we are.
Rachel's donation page, there's four days left.
Rachel's 9 Birthday Wish