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Organ from 9-year-old charity girl helps keep man alive

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Rachel Beckwith's death not only sparked a $1 million-plus charity giving campaign, but is also helping keep alive a California man she's never met.

Rachel was killed in a car crash in July on a highway east of Seattle. The 9-year-old Bellevue girl had been trying to raise $300 for a charity that provides clean water to poor African villagers when her life was cut short.

When word of her wish spread after her death, family, friends and strangers stepped in and picked up her cause. All told, they pledged more than $1.2 million in donations in Rachel's name for her favorite nonprofit, charity: water.

Now, KTVU-TV reports that a donated kidney from Rachel has been transplanted into an Oakland, Calif., man.

"Knowing that a young child passed away and the family made available this organ is just almost too much for me emotionally," said the man, Mark, who asked his last name not be used.

Mark said his kidneys were failing and he'd been on the transplant waiting list for past five years. He got the call of a match in late July.

"I received a gift that you can't even describe how big it was," Mark told KTVU.

Mark said he donated to Rachel's cause and wrote a thank you note to her family. He told KTVU he hopes Rachel's story and her family's generosity will inspire others to become organ donors.

"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 told the TV station.