A mother broke down in tears in a Dec. 23 TikTok after discovering that she couldn’t afford her 9-year-old son’s insulin.
User Katie Schieffer uploaded the heartbreaking TikTok several weeks ago. The video begins with Schieffer sitting in her car, voice wavering as she asks viewers, "How is everybody making it?"
"I've worked for like 17 years. I work all the time," she says in the video. "I've been paying medical bills on my son for nine years, since he was born."
Schieffer explains that her son, Dylan, was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This requires him to receive insulin every two hours.
"I just got his prescription. It was $1,000. I couldn't pay for it," Schieffer says, tears running down her face. "I now have to go in and tell my 9-year-old son that I couldn't pay for it. I work a full-time job. My husband works a full-time job. I work third shift. I go to school during the day."
Schieffer then repeats her initial question.
"How you guys making it?" she asks. "Am I the only one struggling? How are you guys doing it?"
The moving TikTok quickly collected views and comments, racking up more than 500,000 views in the weeks since it was posted. Recently, it spread to Twitter and Reddit, where it received thousands of additional likes and comments.
Viewers were devastated to see the position in which Schieffer found herself, with many pointing to a broken American healthcare system as the culprit.
"This country is broken," the top comment reads. "I'm so sorry."
"It is disgraceful the richest country on earth can not provide for the working people that make it rich," user @lillias agreed. "Sending you and your family love babe."
Many people urged Schieffer to add her Venmo address to her TikTok bio so users with the means to help her could do so. Several viewers also offered to ship excess insulin in the hopes of easing Schieffer's burden somewhat.
Schieffer took their advice, adding her Venmo and PayPal addresses to her bio, and viewers delivered in a big way. A follow-up video posted yesterday shows Dylan, who recently celebrated his 10th birthday, looking healthy and happy.
"Alright Dylan, it's been a whole month since your diagnosis, and how are you feeling, buddy?" Schieffer says from behind the camera.
Dylan lists several of the steps his family has taken to manage his blood sugar. He is learning about his insulin pen and the importance of keeping an eye on his blood sugar.
The video concludes with Dylan thanking people for their donations and for simply caring.
People flooded the comments of the follow-up video with well wishes and more offers of assistance.
"I'm so proud of you little man," user @admiralgrimbly wrote. "It will be hard sometimes but you're a warrior. Keep your head up and find veggies you like."
"He is so precious," @mary.marggg added. "I'm so sorry the system failed you, I truly hope that everything works out for y'all."
"There are so many people who are going without medications and supplies," Schieffer told the Daily Dot. "Here I was thinking I must be doing it wrong but so many people have reached out [talking] about how their loved ones have died watering down their insulin or simply going without."
As donations continue to roll in, several users have also asked Schieffer to set up a GoFundMe so they can further assist Dylan with his insulin needs.
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Update 6:45am, Jan. 14: This story has been updated with comment from Schieffer.