Dear Ann: My 37-year-old divorced sister, "Eleanor," is in love with a convicted murderer. They became friends after she read about his case in the paper and began to attend the trial. He is currently serving a sentence of 80 years to life.
Eleanor visits him whenever she can, and sometimes she brings her two young sons. She defends him by saying he was insane when he killed his victim. I agree with her which is precisely why I don't want her anywhere near the creep. He isn't receiving any psychiatric help, so there's not much chance he will get better. She says she will wait for him and hopes he will be out within 25 years.
All of her friends and family have told her she is ruining her life, but she won't listen. If he does get out, I am afraid he might harm her. Eleanor is a good person. She has a terrific job and wonderful friends. I'm sure she could meet a suitable man if she were open to the idea, but she refuses to see anyone else. It tears me up inside that she would throw her life away for a man whose future is so bleak. Please help her to see the light. Big Sister in New York
Dear New York: Your little sister is living in La La Land and is in desperate need of psychological help. You can be sure Eleanor is sending this man money and gifts, and chances are, he has a few other female friends who are doing the same. Urge her to see a counselor and learn why she has so little self-esteem. This man is using her, and she is wasting her life.
What does Eleanor's former husband think about her taking his sons for these prison visits? This is not a healthy situation for the boys, and he might have something to say about it.
Dear Ann: Twenty years ago, I asked you to inform your readers that children could develop cirrhosis of the liver not only adults who abused alcohol. With your help, millions of Americans became aware of this horrible disease. Unfortunately, today, children who are infected by the hepatitis B virus have a far greater chance of developing cirrhosis than adults who become infected by this virus.
Children who carry the hepatitis B virus are being ostracized and shunned by their classmates, friends and neighbors. This is a heartbreaking tragedy with a simple answer. If all children were vaccinated against hepatitis B which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the fear of spreading this disease would disappear. In addition to stopping hepatitis B, the vaccine can prevent a type of liver cancer caused by this highly treacherous virus.
Please encourage your readers to have their newborns, infants and especially adolescents immunized against hepatitis B, a virus that is 100 times more infectious than AIDS. A decision by parents to protect their children today can prevent a lifetime of heartache and suffering. Those who would like more information on hepatitis can send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Hepatitis Foundation International, P.O. Box 222, Cedar Grove, N.J. 07009.
Ann, you are an angel of mercy, transmitter of education and hope for millions. On behalf of all the folks whose lives you have saved, my sincerest thanks. Thelma King Thiel, chairman and CEO, Hepatitis Foundation International
Dear Thelma Thiel: Thanks for those kind words. It is a privilege to be in a position to help, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity all these years.
Please, folks, have your children vaccinated against hepatitis B. If you would like more information about this disease or about the vaccination, talk to your pediatrician and write to Hepatitis Foundation International. This is too important for any parent to ignore.