For college student Danni Messina, Thanksgiving this year was good. She went home to spend the holiday in the comfort of her family. But a conversation with her friend reminded her how many people didn’t have such a simple luxury.
“I was talking to my friend on Thanksgiving and he told me that he was spending his Thanksgiving in the hospital with his grandmother,” Danni told local news 1010 WINS in an interview. “From there, I thought about how it was such a reality for people to spend their holidays in the hospital, and how fortunate I was to not have to. I personally didn’t need anything this holiday season but so many other families do, so it was time for a change.”
She thought the change she was making would be small. She pledged a donation on her twitter, to go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
“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
“every favorite: $.25
“every retweet: $.50
“go give. go St. Jude!!”
Messina was planning on her friends and contacts sharing it amongst themselves, and planned to donate about $1,000 as a result, with that amount matched by her mom.
But the internet works in wild and mysterious ways. Her little tweet went viral. In just a few days, she had over 400,000 favorites. Honoring her pledge now would cost her over $200,000.
Knowing that to be outside her reach but not wanting to default on the promise, Messina began a GoFundMe page. As of this writing, it’s earned almost $95,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, donated by more than 1,500 people.
While there’s been some backlash from people castigating Messina for ‘writing a check she can’t cash,’ with her original tweet, most of the conversation about her fundraising has been glowing, with people sharing pictures and stories of their encounters with St. Jude. Messina’s campaign is trending and growing, so hopefully, she’ll be able to reach that $200,000 with a little more help.