While most Olympians keep their medals in pride of place, 25-year-old Polish athlete Maria Andrejczyk decided to use her prize as a way to help someone else. She finished second in the women’s javelin throw at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, earning her a silver medal. But rather than keep it, she decided to privately auction the medallion in order to raise funds for Miloszek Małysa, a Polish toddler who needs life-saving heart surgery in the United States.
Andrejczyk, who is a bone cancer survivor, hoped to be able to contribute half of the $380,000 needed for Miloszek’s travel and surgery costs. “Miloszek has a serious heart defect, he needs an operation,” she wrote on Facebook. “He already has a head start from Kubus—a boy who didn’t make it in time, but whose amazing parents decided to pass on the funds they collected.” The Olympian added, “I also want to help. It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”
On Monday, August 16, Andrejczyk announced that the auction had been won by Polish convenience store chain Zabka, which bid more than her goal of $190,000. Andrejczyk expressed that she’s “eternally grateful” to the company, and more than happy to hand over her medal. When writing to Zabka about her silver token, she says, “[It] is a symbol of struggle, faith, and pursuit of dreams despite many odds. I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together.”
Despite Andrejczyk’s willingness to part from her silver medal, Zabka insisted that the Olympian keep it. “We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” Zabka wrote on Twitter. “We admire [Andrejczyk] and we are glad that we were able to contribute.”
As of writing, Miloszek’s donation page is more than 95% funded! Thanks to Zabka’s contribution, it has reached nearly 1.5 million Polish zloty (around $359,842). If you’re inspired by Andrejczyk’s generosity, you can also help this little boy by donating what you can. Find out more here.
Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk decided to auction her silver medal in order to raise $190,000 for Miloszek Małysa, a Polish toddler who needs life-saving heart surgery in the United States.