Although this story took place a while back, I cannot help but reflect on Maria Andrejczyk, a Polish javelin, and Olympian who auctioned off her silver medal to generate funds for an infant’s heart surgery. Zabka, a popular convenience store chain in Poland, bid 200,000 Zlotys ($51,000) for the medal.
Andrejczyk, 25, and a cancer survivor said on her Facebook that she decided to auction off the silver medal she won from the Tokyo Olympics because she knew what it was like to “fight against adversity and pain.”
Eight-month-old Milosz Malysa suffered from a severe heart defect that had a profound impact on Andrejczyk. “He already has a head start from Kubus – a boy who didn’t make it in time,” she wrote on her Facebook. “…but whose amazing parents [Kubus] decided to pass on the funds they collected… And in this way, I also want to help. It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”
In her post, the Olympian said Milosz will need approximately $385,000 to cover transportation and medical treatments, which included the operation at Stanford University Medical Center. Although fans had donated around 300,000 ($76,500) to fund the boy’s surgery, it wasn’t enough to cover the entire procedure.
The Times of London quoted Andrejczyk saying, “The real worth of a medal always stays in the heart. Although a medal is just an item, it may be very valuable to others. Instead of gathering dust in a cupboard, this silver can save lives. That is why I decided to put it up for auction to benefit ill children.”
Andrejczyk won silver in Tokyo by throwing 64.61 meters, which was five centimeters better than former Australian world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber.
Regarding the business owner who was the auction winner of her medal, Andrejczyk said on Facebook, “The winner, and at the same time, the business I will be forever thankful to is the company, Zabka.”