Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Ethical Question...

A few weeks ago we heard the story of Haley Knutsen, the brave 9 year old who suffered from leukemia, and whose parents’ medical plan had come up short. Folks from around the country rallied to raise funds for her treatment, which was to have included a transplant.
Yesterday, we learned the sad news that Haley had lost her 7 year battle with leukemia. We also learned that her parents intend to donate the money that has been raised on Haley’s behalf to another young person who faces a similar challenge.
Which raises the question: are such monies fungible? In other words, is it right that Haley’s parents treat the funds that were raised as solely their own, to do with as they please, rather than return them (if possible) to the folks who actually contributed?
On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine that someone who donated money to little Haley would have a problem with that money going to another little girl (or boy) with leukemia.
On the other hand, when one donates money on behalf of a specific person (or cause) is it wrong if that money is diverted to something (or someone) else? I seem to recall that, after 9/11, some charities took money earmarked for 9/11 victims and spent that money on another worthy cause, which caused some controversy. Isn’t this the same thing?
Just wondering…
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