"I am not dead broke," Wells recalled telling her friend Doug Kirpatrick, who set up the campaign, during an interview with "Inside Edition." "I can handle it. I can get a job and go to work. ... I didn't ask him to do that."
When Kirkpatrick, Wells' longtime hairdresser, created the GoFundMe campaign he wrote: "After 2008, like many of us, Dawn suffered through the banking crash and lost everything including her life savings in addition, to a life-threatening surgery which came close to killing her. Dawn was a victim of an unexpected accident that required hospitalization for two months and a very long time to rest and heal."
As the campaign picked up steam, Wells, who turned 80 Thursday, wrote a Facebook post expressing her amazement at the outpouring of support.
"(I'm) grateful that God has given me so many friends and fans who care, or it would all be too ... overwhelming," she wrote. "I am grateful to any of my fans who are willing to offer support."
Wells and Tina Louise, who played her roommate, movie star Ginger Grant, are the only surviving members of the "Gilligan" cast. Louise is now 84.