April 6, 1999 - Nov 7, 2008
Born April 6, 1999, Rachel was a beautiful 9-year-old girl with a tender, loving, heart, and a deep compassion for those in need.
Rachel excelled at loving others, and rejoiced in the simple things of life. She took great pleasure in going to the park, bowling, writing on her white board, singing on her karaoke machine, playing Kerplunk, playing school and beauty parlor with her best friend and sister, Rebecca, and singing and dancing to praise songs for hours on end.
Rachel had a great eye for fashion and loved "dressing up" in fancy outfits...multiple times a day! Consistent with her tender heart, her favorite clothes were the hand-me-downs from her cousin, Michelle, whom she adored beyond description.
Most of all, Rachel had an incredible passion for shoes, and collected every style and color imaginable. Rather than expensive toys or dolls, Rachel always asked for shoes for her birthday, Christmas, or any other special occasion. Nothing brought her more joy than receiving a new pair!
Rachel also loved giving gifts. She would often ask for a big bag of candy, only to divide it up into goody bags to give to those she loved. She also loved wrapping up her favorite pair of shoes, and giving them to someone she loved. Giving away her "best thing" was something Rachel enjoyed, and did on a regular basis.
Perhaps because of her own struggles, Rachel had an unusual heart of compassion for those who were sick, disabled, or in need, and whether it was a family member or a stranger, Rachel cared deeply about other people's pain.
One of Rachel's favorite things to do was to visit her great-grandmother, Gigi, in the nursing home. Rachel and Gigi were kindred spirits, both having a passion for shoes, and truly knowing how to love others. Heartbroken by Rachel's death, Gigi died just three weeks after Rachel.
Rachel wrote thousands of love notes to her family in her 9-1/2 years - it was as if she knew she would only be here a short time and wrote enough notes to span a lifetime. She alway signed her notes with her signature phrase, "I love you so much, forever."
Rachel mastered the most important things in life - loving and caring for others. She lived to bring joy to others - and whether she gave gifts of candy, shoes, or her love, she gave her all, and held nothing back from anyone.
Tragically, Rachel passed away unexpectedly in 2008, from a seizure, thought to be caused by a rare metabolic disorder, which left her in a coma for 33 days, and eventually claimed her life.
Although our grief is unspeakable, our love for Rachel inspires us to press on to help as many impoverished children as possible receive the gift of shoes. It is a comfort knowing that much good is being done in Rachel's memory.
We are honored to carry on Rachel's legacy through Rachel's Walk of Love, and pray that many more thousands of children will be blessed with the gift of shoes in the years to come.
Thank you for your support!
Lisa Olson (Rachel's Mom)
President and Founder, Rachel's Walk of Love