DEAR MISS MANNERS: A close friend was diagnosed with leukemia. As you can imagine, her family and close friends were devastated to hear the news.
Immediately, before even receiving the prognosis, her family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for expenses while she was in the hospital. They raised approximately $10,000.
After receiving a text message from the family with a link to the GoFundMe page, which I don’t believe is appropriate, we nevertheless gave a very large donation and we were happy to do so.
It turns out that her husband didn’t miss any time from work and their health insurance has covered her medical expenses and treatments. Our friend is currently in remission and doing well. Within the last five months, they have taken three mini vacations, one of which included staying in a five-star hotel.
Although I am happy for them and I’m thankful they are able to celebrate life, I question if it is appropriate, given they just asked all of their family and friends for money. Personally, I feel if they didn’t need the money as they initially expected, perhaps they should save it in case she were to have a relapse. But I realize that isn’t for me to decide.
For the record, my family hasn’t taken any vacations within the last five months. While most of our friends are spending their tax returns on lavish vacations and expensive cars, my husband and I have saved our money over the years in case of such an emergency.
Am I wrong to be annoyed? I feel guilty, given her serious diagnosis. It should be noted this family has a history of being financially irresponsible.
GENTLE READER: It would be charitable to presume that these people panicked upon receiving the diagnosis, assuming that the illness would wipe out the family resources. But then, it was being charitable that put you (and, presumably, others) in the position of depriving yourself to fund these people’s luxurious trips.
As reluctant as Miss Manners is to discourage sympathy, she feels that she has to recommend caution in responding to cries for help. This is because of the appalling readiness many people now have to assume that others will help bear their expenses -- in other words, to go around begging as a first, rather than a last, resort.
She has to agree that you have been had. If, in fact, your friends had misjudged their situation, the honorable thing would have been to return their generous friends’ money.