- 24 Jul 2019 1:26 PM
In 2003, we lost our first child, Dóra, to a brain tumour following 1.5 years of hospital treatment. In response, my husband and I, together with some of our friends, founded the Magic Lamp Foundation. The aim of the Foundation is to give hope and strength to, and put smiles on the faces of, children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Since then, we have granted ill children more than 3,660 wishes, some of them almost impossible! Some have been able to meet their idols, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Carlos Santana, or have received toys or computers, or have been able to visit places they wanted to see, such as London, and the Mercedes factory in Stuttgart, among many others.
We were able to achieve all this thanks to our 140-strong national wish-granting volunteer network and our many financial and in-kind supporters, including individuals, companies and SMEs (among them, XpatLoop and PWC).
When we started Magic Lamp, we had no idea that a not-for-profit foundation can have growth constraints. The demand was – and is – so big, supported by the treating doctors. We must do our utmost to fulfil nearly 300 wishes a year, to give joy to ill children and help them in their recovery process.
1. Where did you grow up?
In Budapest. In my early years, we lived in Rákospalota together with my grandparents. Later we moved downtown, to Párisi utca. I loved living there. We could see the beautiful panorama from the Duna corso and feel the pulse of the city.
2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
It is hard to decide! Either in Austria or the UK.
3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
My family and friends mostly, and the Hungarian culture – theatres, cinemas, museums, literary events.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend – what must they absolutely see and do?
Sightseeing in Budapest (Fisherman’s Bastion, Heroes’ Square, Margaret Island), a walk downtown, museums. They should taste good Hungarian food and wine, and maybe visit some ruin pubs. I would definitely arrange a meeting with my Hungarian friends, to give them a better feeling for the country and the people living here.
5. What is your favourite food?
Túróscsúsza – noodles with cottage cheese, greaves and sour cream.
6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
Working-out in the gym and hiking.
7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?
It’s hard to choose. Probably Dörgicse, Zamárdifelső or Szilvásvárad.
8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
To become a writer – and then, when I was good enough at it, to teach writing methods.
9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
In Germany and Austria. We visited Freiburg and some small towns in southern Germany. As we like hiking, we managed to spend a few days in Tirol, in Obsteig. I liked the mountains and the fresh air, and the calmness of the people.
11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
In Scotland, maybe.
12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Film: Le Salaire de la Peur (A félelem bére) with Yves Montand; or Dead Poets Society.
13. Apart from temptation, what can’t you resist?
Champagne truffles from the Paradeplatz in Zürich.
14. Red wine or white?
15. Book or movie?
Books! But I would rather say: both.
16. Morning person or night person?
17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
18. Buda or Pest side?
19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
I am very proud of Magic Lamp (Csodalámpa) Foundation, and of my friends, colleagues, and our supporters and volunteers, among them quite a few expats, who have helped to give some joy and strength to the Csodalámpa ill children. Their smiles and happiness are the best present.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
As Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Proofread by Robyn Flemming
Robyn is an Australian freelance editor and proofreader, with clients in Australia, Asia and the Middle East.