Polish Olympian auctions silver medal to fund boy’s surgery, buyer lets her keep it
Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk auctioned off her Tokyo 2020 silver medal to fund an urgent heart surgery for a child in her country.
Andrejczyk, herself a bone cancer survivor, announced on Facebook last week that she would sell her medal and put the proceeds toward an operation for 8-month-old Miloszek Malysa, who is currently under home hospice care in southern Poland.
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The boy’s heart defect causes his blood pressure to skyrocket and damage the arteries in his lungs and in the heart.
Żabka, a Polish supermarket chain, won the auction with a bid of $125,000, allowing the boy to get the surgery.
According to a fundraiser page, the boy is under home hospice care and requires an urgent operation in the United States.
This week, Andrejczyk announced the auction winner.
The Polish convenience store chain Zabka made the top bid, paying $125,000 for the silver medal, according to media reports.
But instead of collecting the prize, the company announced it would let Andrejczyk keep the silver medal after all.
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” the company said in a Facebook post translated from Polish. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will remain with Ms. Maria, who showed how great she is.”
The money will go towards paying for Małysa's operation at Stanford University Medical Center.
Andrejczyk in an interview to with Eurosport Polska, a Polish sports program, said that winning the medal brought her “enormous happiness” and that she wanted to “pass that happiness on” to a young child who could use some.
"The true value of a medal always remains in the heart," Andrejczyk said. "A medal is only an object, but it can be of great value to others. This silver can save lives, instead of collecting dust in a closet. That is why I decided to auction it to help sick children."
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Andrejczyk, just missed winning a medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Then, two years later, Polish media reported, she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“I’m very proud of myself,” Andrejczyk said in an interview after she returned to Poland from Tokyo. “I fought like a lioness through a lot of pain and depression.”
Andrejczyk won silver in the women's javelin throw with a 64.61-meter throw.
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