In Maria Andrejczyk's opinion, something was more important than the silver medal in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics. So the bone cancer survivor decided to auction her medal to raise funds for an 8-month-old kid with a heart abnormality who needed surgery.
A Polish javelin thrower who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics auctioned off her medal for $125,000 to help a baby in her nation receive life-saving heart surgery in the United States — and the winner repaid her generosity by allowing her to retain it, according to a report.
Maria Andrejczyk, 25, revealed on Facebook five days after her second-place result that she had decided to sell her medal to generate funds for 8-month-old Miloszek Malysa, who must fly to Stanford University Medical Center for surgery.
The altruistic athlete, a cancer survivor who did not know the infant, said that she acted after reading his parents' appeals online, Yahoo Sports reported.
Andrejczyk wrote in Polish, "Mioszek has a serious heart defect, he needs an operation," according to Google Translate. “He also gets help from above in the form of Kubu, a young man who did not make it on time, but whose funds were donated to Mioszek by amazing people.
“And this is how I intend to assist as well. “I'm auctioning off my Olympic silver medal for him,” she added.
Miloszek needed 1.5 million zlotys (about $385,000) to cover the costs of his trip to the United States and treatment, according to Andrejczyk.
She noted that a family fundraising had already raised half of the money, and that her goal, together with Maysa's mother, was to raise the other half through the Olympic auction.
Andrejczyk, who finished fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a disease that develops in the cells that build bones, in 2018, according to Yahoo Sports.
She needed surgery but not chemotherapy, and she was able to return to training for the 2019 Tokyo Olympics.
She took silver with a throw of 64.61 metres on August 6, trailing China's gold medalist Shiying Liu, whose javelin sailed 66.34 metres.
“A medal's genuine value is always held in the heart. Although a medal is merely a thing, it might be extremely valuable to others. Instead of collecting dust in a closet, this silver can save lives. That's why, according to the Times of London, Andrejczyk told a Polish TV station, "I decided to auction it to aid sick children."
On Monday, Andrejczyk announced on Facebook that the winning bidder was a Polish convenience store business.
She wrote, "We have the auction winner!" “I received this wonderful information on Friday, and because you dears have already done wonders and joint forces have paid more than the equivalent of the initial medal to the Mioszek account — I have decided to end the auction so that our Mioszek can receive the entire amount as soon as possible and fly to the United States.”
“The winner, and at the same time, the firm to which I will be eternally thankful is the company Zabka,” she continued.
The corporation then published its own Facebook announcement.
“We were impressed by Andrejczyk's magnificent and really honourable gesture,” Zabka wrote. “We also determined that Ms. Maria would keep her silver medal from Tokyo.”
Another Pole, Piotr Malachowksi, surrendered his silver medal in Rio to help pay for a boy's eye cancer surgery. According to the Times of London, a billionaire paid for the medal and the operation.
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