Dear Abby: ‘Nervy’ fundraising by dying co-worker

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DEAR ABBY: A co-worker has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She’s not sure how long she may have. She is relatively young, so it’s tragic.

We have excellent insurance from work, national health care and disability insurance. Another co-worker sent out an email with a link to a crowdfunding site as well as an invitation to a party selling products. The proceeds will be donated to fulfilling a “cancer bucket list,” which includes pampering, trips and other luxuries.

I sympathize with anyone having a terminal illness, but why does that mean I have to give money? Do they have a right to be pampered on other people’s dime?

This kind of fundraising, without real financial need, seems to happen often: Co-workers who have had accidents, fires, unexpected or stressful incidents all have office collections set up, even when they are fully insured and the damage is covered by their policies. A friend (or Human Resources) contacts everyone who has had even a passing interaction with the individual and solicits donations.

I am happy to write letters and notes to people I know are having a hard time. I visit with closer friends and may bring a meal or flowers to their home. But people I’ve spent only a few hours of my life with asking for money for luxuries seems nervy to me.

Am I a tightwad, or is a financial donation necessary to express condolences? — TIGHTWAD IN CANADA

DEAR TIGHTWAD: Because you receive a solicitation does not mean you are obligated to respond to it. (Unless the “solicitor” is holding a gun, in which case I would advise you not to argue.)

Whether to make a donation for something like this is your CHOICE, and if you choose not to join in, you should not feel — or be made to feel — guilty if you decline.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is being married in June. Her father — my ex — has let her know she must invite his new wife’s parents to the wedding.

They are drinkers, and have in the past been very rude to my daughter. She has no relationship at all with them and doesn’t want them at her wedding. She is aware that this will cause hard feelings with her stepmother and her father.

My soon-to-be son-in-law called me asking for advice. I said maybe they should be invited to keep peace in the family, but my daughter is very upset at the idea of having these people around on her “special day.” Any advice? — WEDDING INVITE IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WEDDING INVITE: Your ex-husband’s new in-laws are not related to your daughter and do not appear to have made an effort to befriend her. Because of that, I see no reason why they “must” be invited, unless your ex is footing the bill for the wedding.

If this is the case, and the wedding is a large one, the couple could be seated “in Siberia,” which might be a less than satisfactory, but workable, solution.

(Why they would insist on coming under these circumstances, I can’t say, but some people will do almost anything for a free dinner.)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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