A college student had the best intentions when she asked her friends and social media followers to support her charity plans. But she wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming response when her message reached more people than she ever imagined, and they answered positively to her call.
University student Danni Messina wanted to donate to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital over the Thanksgiving break. Instead of directly writing a check for her chosen beneficiary, however, she carried out a different “game plan.” The 19-year-old Washington State University student from Seattle took to social media with the hopes of getting her friends involved.
Messina tweeted from her personal account on November 25 that she would donate 50 cents for every retweet and 25 cents for every “favorite” she received for her post. The equivalent money from the retweets and favorites will all be donated to her chosen children’s hospital.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">this time of year is about giving - this year, I am giving back to St. Jude & the families who are supported by their amazing services <br><br>every favorite : $.25<br>every retweet : $.50 <br><br>go give. go st. Jude!!</p>— dan (@danni_messina) <a href="https://twitter.com/danni_messina/status/934527694934458368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 25, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The university student had prior estimates in mind, she pegged that she’d probably get only a handful of responses from her small social media circle. She failed to anticipate that her tweet would go viral and explode phenomenally.
Only hours after she posted her message, her tweet had thousands of retweets and favorites. As of Tuesday evening, close to 195,000 people had retweeted her post and 450,000 favorited it. Such amazing engagement translates to roughly $210,000. Such an astounding amount that is obviously beyond the capacity of a college student. She was initially planning to donate a maximum of $1,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Messina chose St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital because she learned then that her friend was set to spend the Thanksgiving at the hospital. It also happens to be her sorority's chosen philanthropy.
She had to post a tweet announcing that she needs to “stop” the Twitter activity. Since there’s no way she could have afforded to fork out more than $200,000 from her own pocket, Messina decided to set up a GoFundMe account on Sunday to ask the public for assistance.
She offered as the way of explanation: “I tweeted because I had absolutely no idea there would be that much support around the idea. So, unfortunately, I Don’t have the funds to support this, but here is a link to donate to one of the best hospitals there is.”
At least 675 have so far responded to the GoFundMe appeal and Messina so far received $8,600 in donations. She set a goal of $50,000. She also received words of encouragement from various people on the page.