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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Who Learned of Woman's ALS Is Eager to Help

DEAR ABBY: A woman I know has ALS, and I want to help. I write medical articles, so reading and explaining new research is a useful skill I have. She has told only a small number of friends that she has the condition, and I learned about it by accident.

It seems silly to me to keep pretending I don't know when everyone else around her does. When I showed her a summary of a research article on ALS, she said she didn't know why I was showing it to her. As long as I know anyway, I wish I could be let in on the secret so I can be helpful. Any ideas? -- HELPER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HELPER: Yes. You may be well intentioned, but you need to back off. When you put your foot in the door, it was shut firmly in your face. Now it's time to respect her privacy.

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