"Why me?" asks the little Hungarian boy saved by Michael Jackson.


Michael had funded his liver transplant through his foundation Heal The World.

On a bumpy road in the village of Miske (south), he disembarked by bicycle. The scars on his ribcage are evidence of three liver transplant attempts that would never have been carried out without the help of an unexpected guardian angel named Michael Jackson. The singer donated
150,000 Euros through his foundation Heal The World to save this sick boy he crossed twenty-five years ago in Budapest's Bethesda Hospital.

At that time, Tamás was still called Béla and the doctors feared the worst, due to the lack of available organs. Abandoned by his parents, the child with his livid skin tone touched the heart of the star who came to shoot a promotional clip for his future album HIStory on the banks of the Danube.
Accompanied by Lisa-Marie Presley (daughter of), Michael Jackson wants to take the kid to the United States to get him treated but the medical staff refuses, citing contacts with Belgium. Right away, Jackson decides to pay for the operation performed in December 1995 in an internationally repudiated Brussels clinic.

"His face was all green but he had this light, this sparkle in his eyes. I asked his nurse what was wrong with this child. She told me that he needed a liver urgently and that he would die if he didn't get a transplant. There was no way I was going to let this sweet little angel die. I moved heaven and earth to find a solution and I was relieved when I was called and told that he would finally be operated on. I was so proud to have been able to help him. God bless him. I love you Farkas [Farkas is the last name of the kid Michael Jackson confused with his first name Béla - now Tamás]," the star would later testify in an American Fox TV show.


The third graft was the right

The information remained secret until April 1997. The Brussels press then mentions a due of 3 million Belgian francs (75,000 Euros), equivalent to half of the recorded costs.
After two years of non-payment, the hospital's financial department appointed a lawyer, as stipulated in the procedure for such cases. The Michael Jackson Foundation settled the dispute two to three weeks after the case was reported in the media and the news went completely unnoticed in Belgium. Tamás will be travelling between Hungary and Brussels until 2002 for his medical follow-up.

A quarter of a century after the operation, the surgeon who operated on Tamás is still with us today.

The expertise of the meticulous Brussels practitioner and the mobilization of one of the greatest icons of modern music have spared the boy from a probably fatal outcome given the seriousness of his case.
"The nurses at Saint-Luc were adorable with me, even though I used to make them go round and round to watch the German version of The Lion King, which I couldn't get a whiff of. A woman doctor discreetly brought me good things despite my strict diet," jokes the man who is now married, father of two children and owner of a modest house bought with state aid. "The first two transplants were rejected by my body but not the third. Without Jackson and Professor Otte, I certainly wouldn't be here today," says the 28-year-old.

Giant bear

On the wardrobe of his living room, which also serves as bedroom for his baby -Tamás (7 months)- and the parental couple, the miraculous man dedicates a mini-mausoleum to the glory of his famous benefactor.
Here, a pre-operational photo with Michael and Lisa-Marie from the room of the Kempinsky Hotel in Budapest where the star liked to take up residence in Hungary. Here a post-operation picture from 1996 when Jackson invited Tamás and his adopted family to attend the Magyar concert of his "HIStory" tour in a VIP lodge. In the centre of the cabinet, a letter accompanying the huge teddy bear donated by the regretted MJ.


Lisa, the teddy bear offered to the young boy by the King of Pop.

Due to lack of space in his black limousine, Michael would have specially hired a helicopter to ensure that the gift named Lisa and cherished by its recipient arrived safely. The brown animal accompanied Tamás throughout his childhood and remains intact despite the passed years.
However, the wooden Pinocchio, which looked after the little patient above the hospital bed and operating table, has been stripped of an arm and two black shoes. Other shots showing Tamás cuddling Lisa in the hotel next door to the clinic or laughing while dragging his infusion trolley.

"Memories are far away but I remember the medical helicopter trips to Belgium and the long drive with my adoptive parents for a check-up in Brussels.

"My natural parents were very young and didn't have a penny when I fell ill. The next ones took care of me until I came of age, but our relationship deteriorated and we've rarely spoken to each other since then," he says.

When the singer died suddenly on June 25, 2009, Tamás let a few tears fall. He burns a candle for the man he considers a second father on every All Saints' Day and does not believe a single word of the accusations of paedophilia that support the docu-shock Leaving Neverland recently broadcast on HBO.
"Honestly, it's a joke. Michael was a good man who was incapable of hurting anyone. If something so bad had really happened to me or one of my two children, I wouldn't have waited thirty years to file a complaint," says the man Michael took affection with in 1994.
"I continue to listen his music regularly and particularly enjoy "We Are The World". My dream is to visit his grave in the United States, even though I know I'll certainly never be able to afford it," laments the survivor under the huge cherry tree overlooking the courtyard of his house, occupying the site of a former clandestine grocery shop.

"Why me?"

Inside, her daughter Kinga is is watching cartoons in her room while Helena is cooking a whole pot of spaghetti bolognese that would be enough to feed an entire infantry company. Tamás swallows his portion in a flash.

"I often wonder what made him choose me among the dozens of children on that day in August 1994." Tamás Farkas, liver transplant patient.

Tamás junior will have his own lair in the former shop's entrance when dad and his friends get rid of the rotten wood on the floor and the musty smell of the long unoccupied room. While waiting to be old enough to move into his hideaway, the child spends his nights with his parents in the living room, which at the same time serves as a bedroom, with cable TV, old-fashioned furniture and pop-star souvenirs.
Thanks to the hands of Belgian professor Jean-Bernard Otte and the unexpected generosity of Michael, Tamás no longer suffers physically but a feeling of illegitimacy stays in his mind.

"I often wonder what made him choose me among the dozens of children he met at the Bethesda hospital that day in August 1994. Why did he bend over at my bedside? Why did he take an interest in me when I was about to die? Why did he help me? Why me and not someone else?" The question will probably remain unanswered until his last breath.


Source: TV2 Magyarország