Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have an ethical dilemma. One of my coworkers is dealing with cancer that hasn't responded well to treatment and she wants to turn to "alternative" pseudo-scientific treatments instead. They aren't covered by insurance so our workplace is holding a fundraiser for her. On the one hand, her situation is so hard and I want to be supportive of her. On the other hand, I don't want to funnel money to people that are, at best, misguided and, at worst, actively trying to defraud incredibly vulnerable people. What should I do? I don't know this coworker very well at all, so I wouldn't feel comfortable telling her that I think she should save her money and follow her oncologist's advice instead of pursuing alternative treatments.
That's not a fun interpersonal situation. I personally would donate to a legitimate cancer research fund in lieu of the fundraiser. Then, if anyone tried to get me to participate in the fundraiser in any way, I would politely decline and let them know I donated to a charity. If they asked why I would then tell them. Perhaps this course of action is self-righteous and annoying, but using alternative treatments instead of conventional ones typically leads to death.
I realize that because she hasn't responded to conventional treatments, your coworker likely just wants to do something that helps her feel more in control of her treatment. As you mentioned, this means she is incredibly vulnerable. However, never feed sharks just because fish are sad.
Maybe listen to whatever Tipperary says. It would be nicer to do something else for her and her family. I think I am becoming grumpy in my old age and this answer is really unhelpful, sorry about that. But I have no regret because dōTERRA and foot massage specialists and anti-vaxxers and other sharky minions of the alternative health plague are the worst and deserved to be denounced everywhere.
That seems like a difficult situation to be in. You want to support your friend, but you also want to balance what they want with what would actually be good for them. Sheebs suggests donating to cancer research which is a good way to go. My other suggestion would be to offer something a bit more personal.
You could bake them a meal, or watch their kids so they could have a date night, or offer to drive her to the doctors office. Maybe you could get her something that could help her be comfortable like a nice warm piece of clothing, or a heating pad, or maybe a nice book to read in the doctors office. There are plenty of things you could do for them directly. You'll know you're helping and they'll know you care.
Good luck helping out your friend. I'm sure you'll find the right thing to do. Hope this helps!