Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Might Have Seen This Story...But It's Worth Another Look.....

Again, I sat transfixed this morning while watching the Today Show.  I know...but it's on as I sit at my desk.  I can't help but listen.  As Natalie Morales broadcast the news, I heard a story I was going to tell last evening after reading about it.  It involved the horrible murder of a three-year old little girl.  Maybe I should have written about it.  Then, a few minutes later, I heard Matt Lauer discussing another little girl whose story I had read a couple of weeks ago.  THIS would be the story I should write about it.  It was motivational, heartbreaking, and inspirational all at the same time.  Many of you might have heard of this incredible young lady already.  Her name is Rachel Beckwith and she was from Seattle, WA.  Rachel was, as it turns out, anything but an ordinary girl who was about to turn 9 years old.  You see, Rachel found out that many children across the globe don't live to see their 5th birthday simply because they don't have access to clean water.  What did Rachel do?  Not much, really.  She simply decided that, one her June 12th birthday, she wanted to skip birthday presents and ask people for donations so she could help kids everywhere gain access to that water.  She set a goal - $300.00.  Unfortunately, she only raised $220.00.  Not a problem - she vowed to do it again the following year on her 10th birthday.  This time, she'd make her goal.

Then, in July, there was an accident on I-90 that involved twelve cars...and took one life.  Yes, it was Rachel.  The story is told that her family and friends were grief-stricken beyond belief.  She'd made a huge, lasting impact on them all and they were inconsolable.  The mere fact that a 9-year old little girl had her life cut so tragically short was enough, but to make things worse, she was the kind of child that every parent hopes for.  Caring, kind, giving, and unselfish.  She'd shown that only a month before when she started her campaign to raise a simple $300.00 in lieu of presents.  How many children her age do that?  How many adults do that?  Those same family and friends decided the best way to honor her memory was to keep her dream alive and keep the water drive going.  Then, it happened.  Her story was told on Facebook, Twitter, national news - everywhere...and the donations kept coming.  This little girl that wanted to raise a few hundred dollars made it happen...and so much more.  As I write this, I have checked the site three times.  The total has risen each time.  Her total?  It now stands at a hefty....are you ready?...$1,142,497.00.  The number, so the story goes, is enough to provide drinking water to more than 50,000 people for life.  Her website is Charitywater.org and can be found at: http://www.mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=16396.

So there's the story that should be told.  Simple, actually, right?  I don't think so.  Look at her picture.  This loving child was taken from this earth far before her time.  At nine years old, I think she accomplished more than some that are five times her age.  In a time when we have seen the "Me Generation," how incredibly humbling and wonderful that a child can teach us all about how to live.  How to care about others.  How to make a difference in the world.  That's it, I think.  She taught us, by deed alone, that anyone and everyone can make a difference.  Children die before they're five because they don't have access to water?  How many kids today think the world is coming to an end because they didn't get the newest video game?  How many kids today pout and get upset because they didn't get more money for their birthday or holidays?  How many kids even think about others in distant lands?  How many kids, seriously, take their lives for granted?  I cannot look at Rachel's picture and imagine how her heart got so big.  In a time when I have stated, more than once, how kids are less than appreciative and are less than grateful, this child has done more than bring water to those without. She is, I think, a beacon of hope.  A sign that there is still truly good in the world.  She is a symbol of hope for parents throwing up their hands in despair over how to raise their children.  It CAN be done!  The Beckwith's are proof.  It's easy to think, in light of her death, that this young woman might have changed the world had she grown to adulthood.  It'd be really easy to think that...until you see what she did in her short nine years.  She changed the world.  It isn't simply about the water, either.  More importantly, in my opinion at least, it's about the hope.  She gives us hope.  May this angel now rest in peace...and know she had a profound, lasting impact on many far outside Seattle.

Until next time.........

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