With a viral tweet, WSU students raise tens of thousands in donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital


Washington State University student Danni Messina probably did not expect to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in "debt" a few days after committing to donate to a children's hospital.

But that's exactly what happened when a tweet that posted on Saturday promising to donate money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital went viral. The message was innocuous enough: "This time of year it's about giving: this year, I'm giving back to St. Jude and the families who have the support of their amazing services," he wrote on Twitter.

For this, he promised to donate 25 cents for each "retweet" and 50 cents for each "favorite", asking others to do the same.

On Wednesday, the tweet had more than 200,000 retweets and about 466,000 favorites. In monetary terms, that's about $ 216,500 that I did not have.

"I just want to make a difference", the 19-year-old tweeted in capital letters on Sunday afternoon.

Within a few hours of publication, their commitment began to take hold. One day after his promise, he had unwittingly promised to donate $ 100,000, and the amount kept going up. And climb. And climb. She tweeted Ellen Degeneres and her television show, the "Ellen Show" for help. She tweeted to Jimmy Fallon : "LOVE your show, big fan".

At 5 p.m. On Sunday she canceled her promise unofficially, but still encouraged people to donate: "It's wowza OK, so we're stopping it here," he wrote on Twitter, having been shared tens of thousands of times.

But she still wanted to make good on her promise, the Renton student created a GoFundMe campaign where she asked people to "change some lives" by helping her raise $ 50,000.

"It started with a friend," he wrote. "He was telling me about his Thanksgiving and how he was spending time with his grandmother who was in the hospital." He made me start thinking about the children who were spending their vacations in the hospital, and how it really was a reality for the children. Then I tweeted about it. "

"Therefore, unfortunately, I do not have the funds to support this, but here is a link to donate to one of the best hospitals there is," he wrote. "Yes, Jude is changing lives, this is where we started."

The campaign advanced through its goal of $ 50,000 in two days.

By Monday, the news had spread and appeared in dozens of news, including CBS News and BuzzFeed. [19659002] On Wednesday morning, St. Jude responded kindly with a post on his website thanking Messina for the gift.

"St. Jude's long-standing partners like Kmart have also been involved to support Danni's efforts," the hospital wrote. "Thanks to Danni's generosity, millions of followers and partners like Kmart, no family receives an invoice from St. Jude for treatment, travel, lodging or food, because the only thing that should worry a family is to help their children live "

In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Monday, Messina said he did not expect the tweet to go viral and originally planned to donate $ 1,000 of his own money. He told a reporter that once he noticed that the tweet was accumulating tens of thousands of impressions, he began to panic.

"People were texting me, and other people were saying, 'My God, it's going to go bankrupt,'" she told Buzzfeed.

And although some called the woman for what they considered an empty promise for 15 minutes of fame on the Internet, others praised her for raising money for a good cause.

"As a patient at St. Jude, I want to say thank you", a woman tweeted Messina. "Without the generosity of the people who donate, many of us would not be here today, I owe my life to St. Jude"

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