Silver medallist with a golden heart: Maria Andrejczyk helps fund infant's surgery
- Eight-month-old Miloszek required a surgery in US for heart ailments
- He had already had a headstart from the donations collected for a boy who couldn't make it
- Supermarket chain Zabka won the auction but asked Andrejczyk to keep the medal
Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her Olympic silver medal to raise funds for the heart surgery of an eight-month-old Polish boy.
The 25-year-old said it didn't take her long to enter her first fundraiser after coming to know that the infant, named Miloszek, required a heart surgery at Stanford hospital in United States.
“I knew it was the right one," she said in a social media post.
Andrejczyk hoped to raise with the auction at least half of the 1.5million Polish zloty(USD 384557) sought by Miloszek's donation page.
The javelin star confirmed that Polish supermarket chain Zabka had won the auction with a bid of $125,000 and the donations were close to the 90% mark.
Miloszek has already had 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 wrote.
"And in this way, I also want to help. It's for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal."
Andrejczyk said the silver medal means a “symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds” and she hoped that for Zabka it will be “a symbol of the life we fought for together.”
Praising Andrejczyk’s "beautiful and extremely noble gesture", Zabka insisted she keep the medal.
“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart. A medal is only an object, but it can be of great value to others,” a Times UK report quoted Andrejczyk as having told Polish media.
“This silver can save lives, instead of collecting dust in a closet. That is why I decided to auction it to help sick children.”
Andrejczyk recovered from bone cancer following a diagnosis in 2018, two years after claiming the fourth spot at Rio Olympics.
She won Silver at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 with a 64.61m throw. China's Shiyinh Liu took gold with a throw of 66.34m, while Australia’s Kelsy Lee Barber won bronze with a distance of 64.56m.