Olympic medalist Maria Andrejczyk, a devout Polish Catholic, auctioned her women’s javelin silver from the Tokyo Olympics to raise money for a baby to have heart surgery in California — with the winner giving the medal back to her.
Andrejczyk, who made it to the Japanese games despite having a bone cancer scare in 2018 herself, was moved to give up her medal to raise funds for 18-month-old Miłosz, born with a heart defect Polish healthcare providers had run out of options to treat, leaving a $383,000 surgery at Stanford University Medical Center in California as his last remaining option.
In a Facebook post, Andrejczyk explained that some funds were already available thanks to the generosity of a family whose child had faced similar circumstances, but had passed on before sufficient funds could be raised to treat him.
She hoped that the money raised from the sale of her medal, added to these funds, could pay for Miłosz’s treatment in the U.S.
Cześć kochani! Długo na tym nie myślałam, była to pierwsza zbiórka na jaką weszłam i wiedziałam, że jest to ta…
(Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Andrejczyk later announced that the auction had been won by the Polish supermarket chain Żabka with a bid of $125,000.
The athlete expressed that she was “eternally grateful” to the company and that it was with “the greatest pleasure that I give to you, Żabka, my medal which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith and the pursuit of dreams against the odds.”
“I hope for you it will be a symbol of the life of which we fought for together,” she added — but the company had slightly different ideas.
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” the supermarket chain responded in its own Facebook post.
“Therefore, we decided to support her collection of funds for the sick Miłoszek. We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will remain with Ms Maria, who showed how great a champion she is,” they added.
Byliśmy poruszeni pięknym i niezwykle szlachetnym gestem naszej Olimpijki 😍, dlatego postanowiliśmy wesprzeć zbiórkę…