“Take a seat, please” are the worst words parents of cancer-diagnosed kids can hear. This is how the battle against the disease starts, with a terrible diagnosis and a chair next to a hospital bed. In Romania, around 500 kids are discovered with this condition each year. They need special medical care. But the clinics that offer such care are very far from the hometown of these children. Transportation and accommodation costs are expensive, so parents turn to the only alternative they have so that they can be close to their kids throughout the treatment: A hospital chair.

One of Romanian charity MagicCAMP‘s missions is to offer housing to these families. Because the facilities in Bucharest were too crowded and could no longer accommodate families, the NGO looked for a solution to build a larger house for these people. The organization launched a campaign to help raise awareness and money for the new center. The initiative was part of the MagicHOME project and saw the light of day in November 2017. It was time to be “Together for MagicHOME.”

“Even if they don’t think about their comfort at that time, but only of their children receiving treatment, we believe it is our role to think of their comfort, both physical and emotional, and ease their already difficult burden of looking after a sick child,” Vlad Voiculescu and Melania Medeleanu, founders of MagiCAMP, explained.

During this week’s #ThrowBrandThursday column, we are reminding you of an uncomfortable chair that helped the NGO raise thousands of euros. Developed by the Jazz Communication agency and communicated by Rogalski Damaschin PR, the campaign put people in the parents’ shoes. The ‘star’ of the initiative was the piece of furniture that parents, Romanian celebrities, and regular people sat on 24/7. Motivated enough, they kept the chair occupied until 100,000 SMSs (1 SMS worth two euros) were collected. The campaign achieved its goal and even exceeded the NGO’s expectations: “Within 20 days, and with the help of 636 sitters, MagicHOME reached their goal. Together we raised €309,000 and recruited 115,000 monthly donors,” said the agency behind this campaign.

The chair was placed at the Galateca art gallery, located in a highly visible area of Bucharest. People passing by the gallery could see the hospital-like room, with the chair always occupied. In addition to the sad but real image, passers-by were invited to financially appreciate the organization’s effort by donating via an SMS.

The campaign kicked off with a press conference, held at the gallery. Here, the campaign video was projected, having as protagonists a series of Romanian celebrities. Three VIP ambassadors of the campaign participated in the press conference, being the first ones to occupy the hospital chair: Actors Oana Pellea and Marius Manole, and famous singer Antonia.

The fundraising campaign for the MagicHOME center saw help coming from different directions: People either chose to sit on the chair, send an SMS, or make bank transfers. The charity reached its goal. “The MagicHOME campaign aimed to raise 200,000 euros through 100,000 text messages — with which to build a house for children with cancer and their parents, right next to the Oncology Institute in Bucharest. We finished that house. And we are proud and glad that we have completed more than one house. Today we have a Solidarity Network, for which we still need people’s support,” Medeleanu said.

Currently, there are 14 such places in eight cities and three countries. The initiative also inspired Lithuanians to do the same thing and “rest” on a chair in order to bring a MagicHOME center to life.


Project: MagicHOME

Client: MagicCAMP

Agency: Jazz Communication

Communication Agency: Rogalski Damaschin PR