Each year, 500 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Romania. Another 5.000 children are already undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, pediatric cancers can only be treated in a handful of specialist clinics scattered throughout the country, often far from the children’s homes. The parents who do not give up in the face of disease have only one real option to be near their children while they undergo treatment: a hospital chair.
Beyond the official statistics and the experiences and stories of the people living at MagicHOME, which were the very first research tools to be used in the campaign, the visits to the oncology centers, the raw reality of hospitals, the talks with the doctors and nurses have quickly revealed a collateral victim of the fight against cancer: the parents.
The campaign strategy was based on identifying and capitalizing on a symbol that would be powerful enough to create an experience that would raise awareness and make people feel the agony of the parents, and eventually make them realize how important it is to give the parents shelter when they are away from their children. Following research, the chair of the parents was strategically placed in a highly visible place in downtown Bucharest – the Galateca art gallery. The end goal: raising 100,000 SMSs.
The „TogetherForMagicHome” campaign started with a press conference at Galateca Gallery, where the chair of solidarity stayed for nearly a month, bringing together MagicHOME representatives (Melania Medeleanu and Vlad Voiculescu), medical personnel – a pediatric oncologist and a psychologist, as well as several families with children suffering of cancer that had lived at MagicHOME. Three of the more famous ambassadors of the campaign spoke at the conference: Oana Pellea, Antonia, and Marius Manole. Probably the most moving (and shocking) moment of the event was the premiere of the campaign film, which highlights famous figures sitting on the chair of sorrow. The fundraising campaign for the MagicHOME center managed to draw massive support from the very first days.
A total number of 636 people sat on the chair until the full amount was raised, and another 1,185 were scheduled to do so by April 2018. The campaign raised 17% of the pledged amount in only 24 hours from the start. It ended 23 days later with 115,000 donors who sent the 2-euro recurrent SMS, plus an additional amount of 309,000 euros donated by other individual donors – companies and individuals, versus 100,000 planned SMSs. 38 companies, among which Uber, IKEA, Kaufland, C&A, Ariston, Akzo Nobel, and Holcim spontaneously joined the common effort to build a home for the parents of children living with cancer and provide them with the best opportunities to continue fighting.
A campaign that turned a hospital chair, reminding of tears and suffering, into a message of hope and solidarity, a chair that united people to fight together for the cause of parents of children afflicted with cancer.
The #TogetherForMagicHome campaign was clear proof of how a powerful idea, supported by an adequate communication plan, can change the paradigm and push back on complacency, and may even build a drive to contribute to solving a social issue, proof that it can open a real dialogue between people of all walks of life, uniting them in the fight for a common cause.