"I saw this little kid (at a hospital in Budapest, Hungary), his name was Farkas. He was very sick. He was green in the face. But he had this glow, this sparkle in his eye.
I asked his nurse, "What’s wrong with this kid?" She said that he needs a liver. So I said, "Does that mean he’s gonna die?"
She said, "Yes, he’s gonna die unless he gets a liver".
I said, I’m not gonna let him die. This sweet, sweet angel. No matter what it takes, I’m gonna find a liver for him.
So I sent my ("Heal The World") organization around the world. We went all over the place and it took a long time. And I said, I’m not giving up. I’m not going to have the child die. I was so happy when I got a phone call. They told me, "We’ve found a liver!" And he has his life. I’m so proud that I could help him. God bless him. I love you, Farkas."
20 years later
Hungarian magazine «Story» published a surprising article about Bela Farkas, the young man from Hungary, whose life Michael Jackson saved 20 years ago. The story was prompted by a happy occasion: Bela recently became a father.
The young man on the picture is Bela, the same little boy whom Michael and his then wife Lisa Marie met in a children’s hospital in Budapest in 1994 (Bela’s story was briefly told in one of the previous articles). He never gave an interview before — this was his first conversation with journalists in 20 years.
Bela was born with a serious anomaly: an undeveloped hepatic lobe, a life-threatening condition that required a liver transplant. Such surgeries were not performed in Hungary at the time and were very expensive abroad. Bela’s parents abandoned him at birth, so he had no hope to get the money.
What Michael didn’t mention in the film was that he not only found a donor for the boy and paid for the surgery, but also continued paying for Bela’s treatment for the next ten years. «I don’t even like to think about it,» says Bela. «The treatment cost $15 thousand a year. Michael spent over 50 million forints on me — just because he happened to meet me in the hospital.»
When Michael returned to Hungary in 1996 with his History our, he met with Bela again. The boy then said to him: «You are like my dad. Thanks to you, I was born for the second time.» Michael laughed and answered: «Then you are my son.»
Shortly after his surgery Bela was adopted, so he grew up with loving parents eventually. This TV spot about Bela was made about a year after his surgery:
Michael’s second meeting with Bela in 1996
They stayed in touch until Michael’s death. Michael sent Bela cards, birthday and Christmas gifts, and Bela answered with drawings and photos. When Michael passed away, Bela cried as if he had lost his dad.
From Hungarian magazine Story
"I once asked Michael what he considered to be his greatest achievement. [...] "Saving Bela's life was definitely one of the most important moments in my life," said Michael honestly, furthermore highlighting what a caring humanitarian he was."
With a teddy bear from Michael in 2018: