ROANOKE, Va. – The 35-day government shutdown affected more than 800,000 federal employees and an estimated 1.2 million contract workers.
Quashawn Latimer, a Navy veteran and Department of Treasury employee, was almost forced to choose between her cancer treatment and her rent, but "perfect strangers" made sure she didn't have to worry about either.
Latimer, a 43-year-old mother of three, had an appointment Monday to undergo her final treatment for stage 2 breast cancer. She was shocked when she received a phone call from the hospital administrator on Jan. 24.
"A stranger just called, and he zeroed out your balance. He took care of your account. All of it," Latimer recalled the administrator saying. "I was overwhelmed. I was literally in tears. It was an amazing moment."
The donor — an Oregon resident who asked to remain anonymous — made the big-hearted gesture after Latimer's story, which she shared with MSNBC's Mariana Atencio on Jan. 22, reported NBC News.
"I can't negotiate with my chemo. That has to happen. If it's the chemo or the rent, chemo wins," she said then. "Worst case scenario, we lose our home."
After her chemotherapy bills were paid off, another good Samaritan paid the family’s rent for the month of February.
"That was amazing to me," Latimer said.
"It is blessings, and it is a bright side to this, and I thank God for it," Latimer told NBC Washington, which first reported her good news.
She said she was relieved when President Donald Trump announced a temporary deal ending the shutdown Friday. However, Latimer doesn’t have much faith in the government. She worries this could happen again come Feb. 15, when the current deal expires.
"I'm still apprehensive," she said. "I'm taking it day by day, trying to move forward."