Danni Messina, 19, reportedly said that she was inspired by a friend who was spending Thanksgiving in the hospital.
A student at Washington State University who felt charitable last week posted on Twitter that she planned to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
It seemed simple enough: She told followers she would give 25 cents for everyone who favorited her tweet and 50 cents for every retweet.
But the tweet went viral. It reached nearly 200,000 retweets and 450,000 favorites, pushing her pledge to more than $200,000.
Danni Messina, 19, told the Huffington Post that she was inspired by a friend who was spending Thanksgiving in a hospital. She said she thought about all the children who would be in a hospital, fighting for their lives, instead of celebrating the holidays at home.
“I was originally planning on donating personally $1,000,” she told CBS News. She told the network she had to stop the retweet fundraiser due to the skyrocketing amount.
“I tweeted because I had absolutely no idea there would be that much support around the idea,” she told CBS. “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.”
She started a GoFundMe page where she is directing those reaching out to help in her effort. She set the price goal at $50,000.
“It’s a community effort now, I think,” she said.
Some on Twitter criticized Messina for not capping the amount and not following through on her pledge.
One person tweeted, “Uggh… we from an older generation have a saying.. so you wrote a check you can’t cash did ya? It is a shame.. St Jude is a great cause! Too bad you decided to make a commitment that you can’t honor.”