College student raises $220K for St. Jude Children's Hospital after pledge on Twitter goes viral

Washington State University student Danni Messina is committed to her goal.

ByABC News via logo
December 6, 2017, 9:19 AM

— -- A college student whose tweet about her attempt to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital went viral is learning the power of social media.

Danni Messina, a sophomore at Washington State University, promised 25 cents for every “favorite” her tweet received, and 50 cents for every retweet. The only problem: She didn’t expect to get more than 475,000 favorites and more than 205,000 retweets, adding up to about a whopping $220,000.

“I drew a blank. I really had no idea what to expect,” Messina, 19, said on “Good Morning America” today of her initial shock at her tweet’s success. “At the time, I had 600 followers and I thought, ‘OK, well that’s basically impossible.’ And then I’m like, ‘OK, this is the time. This is the time to make a change.’”

Messina said she started a GoFundMe page to make her mission a “team effort.”

“The GoFundMe has now reached a little over $86,000 and in total we’re at about $174,000 for St. Jude,” she said of the treatment and research facility in Memphis, Tennessee, that focuses on childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

VIDEO: College student raises money for $220K donation after viral tweet
VIDEO: College student raises money for $220K donation after viral tweet

Kmart also took part in the fundraising, holding an official Danni Messina Day where customers had the option to donate money to St. Jude, a longstanding partner of theirs, at check out.

“They raised a little over $86,000 that day nationally,” Messina said. “All of that money is going to be donated to St. Jude in my name to help me out with this campaign to reach that goal of just around $220,000.”

Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan, who is a spokesman for St. Jude, volunteering his time and starring in public service announcements to support the hospital’s mission, thanked Messina for her fundraising work.

“Thank you for your work with St. Jude’s, which I love,” he told her.