By Chris King • 26 August 2021 • 21:27
A POLISH Olympic silver medallist auctioned her medal to help pay for a young boy’s operation, but the winning bidder has refused to take her medal
Maria Andrejczyk, the Polish javelin thrower who won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, made a gesture worthy of a gold medal when only two weeks after winning in Tokyo, the 25-year-old became aware of a sick Polish boy who needed to travel for an operation in America – Miłoszek Małys – who was in need of a heart operation, so she decided to auction her silver medal to raise money.
Ms Andrejczyk did not know the boy, or his family, she only became aware of him through reading of his plight on social media, and having beaten cancer herself, the Olympian realised exactly how important the money could be to his operation, and to his family.
Posting on her Facebook page, the athlete wrote, “Miłoszek has a serious heart defect, he needs an operation. He also has support from above from Kubuś – a boy who did not make it on time, but wonderful people decided to donate his funds to Miłoszek. And this is how I want to help too. It is for him that I am auctioning off my Olympic silver medal”.
It had been estimated that the total cost for Miłoszek’ family, by the time they travelled to America, to the Stanford University in California, where the op would take place, was in the region of 1.5 million Polish zlotys (£281,000 or €327,000), and with half of that amount having been raised already by online fundraising, Maria believed her medal could raise the balance required.
“We have the winner!”, Andrejczyk posted excitedly on her social media, “On Friday I received this wonderful information, and due to the fact that you dears have already done wonders and joint forces have paid more than the equivalent of the initial medal to the Miłoszek account – I decided to end the auction so that our Miłoszek will receive the whole amount as soon as possible and can fly to the USA”.
“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart. 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”, Andrejczyk told The Times.
But it seems the winning bidders, Polish convenience store chain Zabka, had some pretty big-hearted plans of their own, and in honour of her winning ways both on the Olympic field and off, the company gifted Andrejczyk her medal back.
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian, we decided to support the benefit”, a spokesman for the winning bidder Zabka posted to Facebook. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms Maria, who showed what it means to be a true champion”.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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