The Children Cancer Foundation in the last 17 years donated devices to paediatric oncology departments of Hungarian hospitals and granted support for the care of ill children in a total value of nearly 3 billion HUF. Even though in the last year the Foundation was hit by severe attacks and also an inspection was carried out concerning the operation of the Foundation, which has already been completed, and the Foundation has won the libel cases initiated against twenty different media claiming falsity.
But the balance is still negative, the Foundation received 150 million HUF less from the 1 percent personal income tax pledges. And it seems that their biggest dream will only remain a layout plan, as they will never be able to build the Children Cancer Hospital. István Balogh hasn’t given it up yet; before Christmas the Foundation handed over to three hospitals various devices in a total value of 174 million HUF.
-When a few days ago, the Foundation handed over to the Bethesda Children’s Hospital a respiratory and anaesthesia apparatus and a mobile ultrasound device everything seemed to be all right. Dr. Velkey György, Director of the Hospital and also the Chairman of the Hungarian Hospital Association said thank you for the donation, which arrived at the last moment and noted that this was the third time when the Foundation had been helping the institute in such hard times. Maybe only the media was missing, but since you are engaged in lawsuits with twenty media and your relationship with the media is not doing very well, it’s not so surprising.
-We have purchased medical devices for the Bethesda Hospital so far in a total value of 100 million HUF. And according to the General Director of the institute they were facing a really difficult situation so far on three occasions, when the old devices made the treatments impossible and they had no resources available for the replacement of the devices. First of all their ultrasound device broke down, followed by the laboratory automated device and now the important instruments of the intensive care unit were in critical condition. It was also mentioned that the intensive care unit is equipped with 6 beds, where currently 7 children are looked after and as there are only six respiratory apparatuses available, the new device had to be installed immediately. The Miskolc Hospital and Heim Pál Children’s Hospital made similar statements, but despite of all praise due to the campaign organised against the Foundation our reputation has been severely damaged. We have lost our credibility, for which we have been working for the last 17 years. Our reputation constituted the basis for our success. Due to loss of confidence in 2014 people pledged 150 million HUF less from the 1 percent of their personal income tax. Artists, who came to help us before, now cancelling their performance because of our bad reputation.
-The prosecution closed the case; the Foundation won the libel cases against all twenty medium, even though not too many articles were published on this success. Now, that you are absolutely clear on what happened I need to ask you this. In whose interest was this campaign?
-The Foundation has grown too big and has become too successful. I was incriminated due to fraudulence, they took photographs of me and fingerprints; I was treated like a criminal. None of the accusations were proven.
-The use of the ambulance was one of them…
- I haven’t used the ambulance for my personal needs.
-The other accusation was that the Foundation has been keeping 800 million HUF on the bank account of the Foundation, when so many devices are still missing from the Hungarian hospitals.
-Jealously rules and it is also true that we didn’t fulfil all requests, because some of them were not falling under the scope of our tasks. We haven’t spent a penny unnecessarily and our plan was to establish a children hospital specialising in cancer treatment, which would cost over 4 billion HUF. We have been waiting for an EU tender, which also required our own resources. And still, until 31st December 2014 we spent 2 billion 970 million and 493 thousand HUF on granting various support. Hospitals received more than 1,629 billion HUF from the above amount, while sick children were granted a total of 1,270 billion HUF; civil organisations supporting the recovery of ill children received 52 million HUF and physicians were granted 19 million HUF.
-One of the hospitals, which during the anti-Foundation campaign issued a statement against you claimed that the Foundation failed to grant a subsidy for the repair of the cargo lift, even though this would have indirectly served the purposes of children recovery.
-The Foundation’s Board of Trustees defined that we are only allowed to support the medical treatments of ill children. We were not allowed to grant support for the maintenance and operation of hospitals. If so, it would have been considered as “fraudulence”.
- The Foundation received 150 million HUF less from the 1 percent of the personal income tax pledges. Furthermore, according to the latest Civil Act the Foundation has to spend its reserve latest by 31st December 2015, which also a huge disadvantage to the Foundation.
can spend that 603 million HUF, which is our gold reserve within a day. But this act means, that we will not be able to build a hospital, moreover we will not be able to comply with our mission, as the 72 million HUF, which we received from the personal income tax fund is nothing. Only the subsidies we granted to 503 ill children and their families in one year was more than 72 million HUF. Despite of the reduction of employee numbers, the situation hasn’t become easier. The others didn’t come out any better either, due to the attacks launched against us the civil organisations received spectacularly less donations from the public. The campaign had one and only “result”, namely that people are no more believing in Foundations. Nobody has won and the children lost. The leaders of the televisions, newspapers and publications, those who destroyed our reputation need to settle the rest with their own conscience.
Photograph: Aurél Almássy