Danni has been criticized for her shortsighted Twitter effort, but she is now trying to channel retweets into actual funds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she told BuzzFeed News.
Danni Messina is a 19-year-old Washington State University student originally from Seattle.
She told BuzzFeed News it was then that she realized many family members — especially children — were forced to spend the holidays in their hospital beds.
"It hit me that a lot of kids have the reality of having to be in the hospital with their families," Messina said. "I feel so fortunate that I have everything I need. There are so many other families that need so much more.
"I wanted to give back this holiday season."
She had planned to donate about $1,000 of her own money, but her tweet "started to grow" quickly.
Within a day, it had already amassed well over the $1,000 she had anticipated.
In fact, on her plane ride back to school, she noticed the amassed amount was tens of thousands of dollars. She was "in shock," she said, and began to panic a bit.
"When I got on the plane I was just in shock ... people were messaging me, and other people were saying, 'Oh my god, she's going to go broke.'"
She said while she knew she couldn't afford tens of thousands of dollars to donate, but she wanted to commit to her "positive" intentions.
Messina said she's still pledging to donate $1,000 herself, and will update BuzzFeed News as soon as she can access the money in her savings. She now only has one message for supporters and haters: "Just keep donating. Keep donating."