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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife in Middle of Family Feud Faces Painful Choice

DEAR ABBY: I was recently diagnosed with cancer. The support I have received from friends and family has been wonderful. However, I have a challenge.

A friend from work who is a cancer survivor has solicited money from other co-workers on my behalf. I didn't know she had done it, but if I had, I certainly would not have condoned it. My husband and I are well-off, and my company's health insurance is adequate for my medical expenses.

My friend keeps trying to find ways to spend the collected money on me. Unfortunately, she buys things I neither want nor need. I'm so uncomfortable with this entire situation that I don't know what to do. How would you handle this? -- EMBARRASSED BY THE ATTENTION

DEAR EMBARRASSED: I'd ask the friend for a list of the names of the people who contributed so I could thank them for their thoughtfulness and generosity. And when I got it, I would nicely tell her that, while I appreciate her collecting the money, I do not need it and I want it returned to the donors. Then I would write each of the donors a short, personal note explaining the situation and expressing my gratitude.