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College student 'owes' more than $200K to St. Jude after fundraising tweet goes viral

College student 'owes' more than $200K to St. Jude after fundraising tweet goes viral
Posted at 8:15 AM, Nov 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 13:28:15-05

Danni Messina was just trying to do her part to help sick children when she challenged her Twitter followers to help her raise money. But after her tweet went viral, she's seeking help from others in order to keep her promise.

Messina, a 19-year-old college student at Washington State University, announced on Twitter last week that she was making a holiday donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. According to BuzzFeed, Messina was inspired to donate after she learned a friend spent Thanksgiving at a local St. Jude facility with his grandmother.

Messina said she would donate 50 cents for every retweet she received, and 25 cents for every favorite she received. She told CBS she expected to donate about $1,000.

 

 

However, her tweet quickly went viral. It's received more than 200,000 retweets and 450,000 favorites since it was first posted on Nov. 25. 

As of 10:45 on Wednesday morning, Messina "owed" $216,394.75 to St. Jude. Messina only had about 1,700 followers at the time. 

When it became clear that Messina wouldn't be able to keep up with the retweets and favorites, she set up a GoFundMe page 

 

 

"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. St. Jude is changing lives. This is where we start," she wrote.

The GoFundMe campaign surpassed its goal of $50,000 goal in just two days, thanks to donations by nearly 1,000 people.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.