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Olympian auctions off her silver medal to raise funds for infant’s heart surgery, earns plaudits online

Winning a medal at the Olympics is probably a life-long dream of every athlete, a culmination of their hard-work, grit and determination. However, one Olympics medallist is winning hearts online for doing the unthinkable — auctioning her medal for a good cause.

Yes, Polish javelin thrower, Maria Andrejczyk, has taken the social media by storm after auctioning off her silver medal to raise funds for an infant’s life-saving surgery. The 25-year-old female athlete decided to sell her medal to arrange for emergency funds needed for 8-month-old Miłoszek Małysa, who has a serious heart defect.

“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,” she posted on her Facebook page. “And in this way, I also want to help. It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”

“It didn’t take me long to decide, it was the first fundraiser I entered and I knew it was the right one,” she said. Andrejczyk’s post came after the fundraising page posted an update: “Miłoszek’s condition is drastically deteriorating – urgent surgery is needed!”

Miloszek’s family started a fundraising page in order to pay for the surgery with a goal of 1.5 million Polish zloty. While half of the amount was already raised, she decided to give it the much-needed push. “I start auctions from the amount of PLN 200,000.”

According to ESPN, a Polish supermarket chain won the auction for her Tokyo Games medal with a bid of $125,000. She too confirmed the news on Instagram tagging Żabka, and thanking them.

At the time of writing, Miloszka’s donation page is nearing its goal and over 93 per cent of the amount has been raised. The baby, a native of Poland, was refused surgery by hospitals in many European countries given how complicated the procedure is and the family’s last hope is Stanford University Medical Center.

infant olympian heart surgery

The best part is that Andrejczyk will get to keep her hard-earned medal. The company that won the auction not only joined the cause but were so “moved by her extremely noble gesture” that they decided to return it to the Olympian. “We also decided that the silver medal 🥈 from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria, who showed how Great the Champion,” Polish store chain Żabka Polska wrote on Facebook.

Andrejczyk, who missed out on a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics by 2 centimeters, suffered from a shoulder injury in 2017 and was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018. She made a comeback after recovering from the disease and won her first Olympic medal in Tokyo this year.

“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart,” the athlete told The Times. “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.”

People on social media were not only touched by her gesture, they also applauded the store who allowed the Olympian to retain her medal.

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