More Than a Medal: Polish Olympian Auctions Silver Medal for Child’s Heart Surgery

A Polish javelin thrower won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and auctioned it for $125,000 to help pay for a Polish infant’s life-saving heart surgery.

Maria Andrejczyk announced in a Facebook post that she discovered a fundraiser for an eight-month-old boy Miloszek Malysa that had a serious heart defect and was in need of life-saving surgery, but the family needed financial assistance. The Polish javelin thrower promptly auctioned off the silver medal that she won in the Tokyo Olympics for $125,000 to the Polish supermarket chain, Zabka. 

The English translation of what Andrejczyk wrote on Facebook says: “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. … And in this way, I also want to help. It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”

Andrejczyk missed a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics by two centimeters and suffered a shoulder injury that forced her to sit out the 2017 competitions. Then, Andrejczyk faced a life-threatening diagnosis of her own when she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018 — all before making her successful return to Tokyo in 2021.

After winning the auction, Zabka returned the medal to Andrejczyk, instead making a donation for the surgery in her honor. The boy will fly to the United States soon to have surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

Image source: Sports Illustrated