By John Lauritsen

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — Thursday is the 34th day of the partial government shutdown, and some federal workers will miss their second pay check this week.

For some of those workers, it’s forced them to ration in ways they never thought they would.

Mallory Lorge calls it a “run of rock bottom.” After returning from her honeymoon last fall, she developed pneumonia, then sepsis, and then the shutdown happened. As an employee of the Fish and Widlife Service, she’s been out of work.

“The day the shutdown happened, my first major hospital bill was sitting in my mailbox,” said Lorge.

To try and cut down on debt, Lorge made a decision she admits was dangerous. She’s a diabetic, and she decided to cut back on her insulin.

“When you start to get desperate, those are the things that pop in your head. Desperate things you wouldn’t normally do but now you are feeling like you are forced to,” said Lorge.

So instead of paying the $300 co-pay for insulin, she went without as much as she could.

“I just decided to risk it, and I went to bed knowing there was a possibility I wouldn’t wake up, but I was more terrified of going into debt than I was the possibility of dying in my sleep,” said Lorge.

But a simple GoFundMe page changed Lorge’s fortunes. Complete strangers heard about her story and stepped up.

“People were sending me their excess insulin,” said Lorge.

Within a matter of days, her fridge was full. And a goal of $300 for more insulin turned into more than $3,500 in donations.

“‘Hang in there, we are with you.’ ‘We are rooting for you.’ My spirit is uplifted. It puts a smile back on your face,” said Lorge while reading some of the online comments. “My faith in humanity is restored and it’s all because of the kindness of these strangers.”

Lorge said she now has enough insulin to get by for a long time.

She’s asking people that want to give, to donate their insulin to T-1 International.

That’s a nonprofit group helping people with Type 1 Diabetes.

John Lauritsen