Bela Farkas: “Why did you choose me?”

Bela with his newborn daughterHungarian 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.

When Michael visited the hospital, he asked doctors why the boy was so thin and yellow in the face and was explained Bela’s condition. Michael immediately said that he would pay for the surgery. It was a rare occasion when Jackson’s charitable act received publicity and media coverage.

Michael and Lisa Marie with Bela Farkas in 1994
Michael and Lisa Marie with Bela Farkas in 1994

Michael himself recounted Bela’s story in documentary “Michael Jackson: The Private Home Movies” eight years later:

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.”

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:

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.”

Michael's second meeting with Bela in 1996
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.

Bela is 24 now, and in February 2014 he became a father of a healthy newborn girl. He says the doctors predicted he would not live past his 18th birthday, and here he is at 24 still doing well. He will always be very grateful to Michael. “If I could,” admits Bela, “I would ask him, ‘Of all children in that hospital, why did you choose me?'”

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19 thoughts on “Bela Farkas: “Why did you choose me?”

  • March 21, 2014 at 5:08 am
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    I am so glad to see that Farkas is still doing well. I would like your permission to report this story on my blog. Your page will not allow me to reblog it. Let me know. Thanks for your consideration. ♥

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  • March 22, 2014 at 1:01 am
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    What a wonderful ending for Bela, thank you

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  • March 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm
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    Bela Thanks for your testimony, I guess will preserve forever in your heart this wonderful person who gave you so much. I would love if you would share other details of your long friendship with Michael. A hug Marisa

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  • March 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm
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    This is the best! Great to see how “Farka” is doing, I’ve thought alot about this kid since MJ died.

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  • March 25, 2014 at 6:27 am
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    That’s so cuuuuute ^^ <3

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  • March 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm
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    Michael us such a sweet heart and has such a great personality not many people you know would do something like tht – love you Michael

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  • April 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm
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    This made me cry! I had already known about Michael helping Bela but what i didn’t know was that he helped him for years. Michael is the most beautiful, most kind hearted person i’ve ever known or heard about. And i’m glad that i finally see that good & TRUTHFUL news where given out in the news. I’m so happy for Bela that he’s a father, and what he said to michael when he was a little boy; that to him Michael was like a father to him, that just made tears come down my face. I love Michael (i need to tweet this)

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  • June 10, 2014 at 2:15 am
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    Bela is so thanksfull to Micheal, I’ve seen an interview wit him. He is leaving in extremly poverty, almost starving. I wish I could help him and to buy some furniture for example, because I know that they don’t have any. Do anybody know the conact to him?

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  • July 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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    In tears right now. So So SOOOOO happy for Bela. Michael was an angel… We only know about the lot that Micael helped and cared for but there are sooo many more people out there that Michael helped… These kind of stories warm my heart.

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  • July 9, 2014 at 6:11 am
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    I am so happy to read this story and to hear Bela is now a father! Congratulations!! Bela, if you are reading these comments, Michael’s fans have a charity in his honor and name, meant to help children all over the world just as he did. Please check it out at http://www.michaelsdreamfoundation.org someday :o) We would LOVE to hear from you!! ♥

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  • July 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm
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    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PERSON. i LOVE MICHAEL SO MUCH. i WILL ALWAYS HAVE HIM IN MY HEART.

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  • February 2, 2016 at 2:15 am
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    Hi. Here is some additional info on Béla since he was on TV in Hungary not long ago.

    He has a wife and a little daughter now. He changed his name to Tamás Farkas. (Tamás/Béla is the first name, Farkas is the surename.)

    The program is about people who are looking for their lost family members. He was looking for his biological parents with whom he hasn’t met since he was a little child. He was raised by adoptive parents after the operation. His biological parents (who broke up shortly after Tamás was given to adoption) both said they did so because they were too young and could not afford his medicine and could not have given him circumstances that would have supported his healing (eg. sterile room etc.). They felt it was for Béla’s sake that they gave him to adoption. He accepted the explanation and they made up at the end.

    Here is the program:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5Zw4E3AskE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRCJDos16Iw

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    • July 14, 2016 at 1:49 pm
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      Would love to know if he named his child after Michael, since Michael helped him so much. Thank you.

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  • July 24, 2016 at 5:39 am
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    Michael you’re always in my heart.Love you very much

    Reply

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