Donations to charity honor late Issaquah girl

August 2, 2011

By Staff

Rachel Beckwith, a 9-year-old Issaquah girl, continues to inspire people around the globe.

In the days after Rachel died July 23 from injuries sustained in a Bellevue crash, donations to a charity she championed surpassed $700,000 from more than 20,000 people.

Inspired by a church fundraiser, Rachel asked in June, in lieu of birthday gifts, for donations to Charity:Water, a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to people in developing nations. So far, the charity estimates almost 4,000 projects have provided clean water to more than 1.7 million people in 19 countries.

Charity:Water estimates each dollar invested in improved water access and sanitation yields, on average, $12 in economic returns.

How to help

  • Rachel Beckwith asked people to donate to Charity:Water as a birthday gift. Now, people can donate as a tribute to the late 9-year-girl. Donate at the organization’s website, p/campaign?campaign_id=16396.
  • Or, donate to help Rachel’s family pay medical expenses. Donate at the Band of Brothers Northwest website,

Rachel’s $300 came up short, but in the days after the July 20 crash, leaders at EastLake Community Church asked Charity:Water to reactivate Rachel’s donation website.

Donations started to pour in, and the flow increased to a deluge as local news outlets carried the story. “NBC Nightly News” featured a segment about Rachel’s fundraiser July 29 and donations soared beyond $700,000.

Rachel’s mother Samantha Paul survived the Bellevue crash. In a message posted on Rachel’s donation website July 25, she offered thanks to donors.

“I am in awe of the overwhelming love to take my daughter’s dream and make it a reality. In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope,” she wrote. “Thank you for your generosity! I know Rachel is smiling!”

Troopers seek witnesses to crash

Washington State Patrol investigators put out a call last week for witnesses to the deadly pileup along Interstate 90 in Bellevue.

The crash fatally injured a 9-year-old Issaquah girl and injured numerous other motorists, including a handful of Issaquah residents. Investigators asked for witnesses to call Detective Greg Wilcoxson at 360-805-1195 or Detective Jeff Maijala at 401-7742.

Just before 8 a.m. July 20, as traffic slowed due to congestion near the Interstate 405 interchange at 133rd Avenue Southeast, a tractor-trailer jackknifed into a logging truck in the adjacent lane, authorities said. The impact dislodged the rear axle of the logging truck and sent the piece hurtling into traffic.

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