Olympian auctions silver medal to pay for baby's life saving heart operation

19 August 2021, 10:28

Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her silver medal
Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her silver medal. Picture: Getty Images

Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned her silver medal for £90,000 to pay for a child’s heart surgery.

A Polish javelin thrower has sold off the medal she won at the Tokyo Olympics to help an eight-month-old boy with a heart defect.

Maria Andrejczyk - who is a bone cancer survivor herself - auctioned off the accolade for a whopping $125,000 (£90,000) to pay for Miłoszek Małysa's operation at Stanford University Medical Centre.

Taking to her Facebook page this week, 25-year-old Maria announced that the winning bid went to the Polish convenience store chain Zabka.

Olympic athlete Maria Andrejczyk auctioned her medal
Olympic athlete Maria Andrejczyk auctioned her medal. Picture: Getty Images

She said: "It is with the greatest pleasure that I am handing over to you Żabka, the little big store chain, my medal, which to me is a symbol of faith and perseverance in the face of great obstacles.”

Talking to Polish sports program Eurosport Polska, Maria later said that she wanted to pass on the ‘enormous happiness’ she got from winning the medal to the young boy.

"The true value of a medal always remains in the heart," she said.

"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."

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The supermarket decided to return the medal so Maria could keep the reward for her success in Tokyo.

They said in a Tweet: "We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian, so we decided to support the fundraiser for Miłoszek.

"We also decided the silver medal will remain with Mrs. Maria."

Miloszek Malysa has a serious heart defect and his family needs to raise around £280,000 before the eight-month-old is able to get the surgery.

Maria herself was forced to step down from competing professionally in 2017 after she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

After undergoing surgery, she worked hard to get back into her sport and finished in fourth-placed at the Rio Games in 2016.