Polish javelin thrower, Maria Andrejczyk, had more the celebrate during the 2021 Olympics than her average competitor. In 2016, she missed placing for a medal by two centimeters. Following those games, she not only suffered a serious injury, but road to recovery post bone-cancer diagnosis.
After her tumultuous few years, placing silver for javelin at the Tokyo Olympics was an emotional experience for Andrejczyk. But despite the meaningful accomplishment, Andrejczyk decided the value of her medal could be used to give back upon learning about an infant who needs heart surgery.
Maria Andrejczyk with her javelin. Credit: The Sun.
“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart,” she says. “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.”
In order to give the child, Miloszek Malysa, the best treatment available, the plan is to travel from Poland to Stanford University in California. To cover transportation and medical care, the Malysa family needed roughly $385,000. By the time Andrejczyk stumbled upon the family’s fundraiser about half had been raised, and she made it her mission to get them to that final number. So, she took to her followers on Facebook.
“Miłoszek has a serious heart defect, he needs an operation,” Andrejczyk posted (translated via Google). “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.”
Within a few days, Andrejczyk announced that a Polish convenience store chain, Zabka, made the winning bid. However, Zabka wanted to reward Andrejczyk for her big heart with a kind gesture of their own. The store donated the funds in the Olympian’s name without taking the medal.
Andrejczyk with her medal. Credit: Remonews.
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian, we decided to support [the benefit],” a representative from 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].”
Thanks to Maria Andrejczyk’s kindness, the Malysa family is set to embark on their travels soon. Thanks to the kind gesture of Zabka, she is able to walk away from this fundraiser with the physical reminder of not only what she accomplished in Tokyo, but what she went through to get there.
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