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Olympian auctions off silver medal to raise funds for an infant’s surgery, auction winner gives back medal to her

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Aug 19, 2021 8:57 pm

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk may be a silver medalist in the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but within her is a heart of gold as she auctioned off her prized medal to help someone in need. 

Just a few days after she won a silver medal at the Olympics, the 25-year-old athlete posted on her Facebook page that she is auctioning her medal to raise money for an eight-month-old baby with a heart disease, who needs to undergo a life-saving operation in the US.

According to Maria, the procedure costs 1.5 million Polish zloty (P19.3 million), half of which has already been taken care of. Maria didn’t think twice to help cover the remaining balance.

Bidding for the medal started at 200,000 Polish zloty (P2.5 million).

By Aug. 16, the Olympian announced the winner of the auction—the Polish convenience store chain Zabka, which bid for the medal at almost 500,000 Polish zloty (P6.4 million). 

In her announcement, Maria said she will be “eternally grateful” to Zabka and also thanked the company on behalf of the parents of the infant.

“It is with the greatest pleasure to give you, Zabka, this medal, which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds,” Maria wrote.

“I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together,” she concluded.

A few minutes after Maria’s announcement, the convenience store chain posted on its Facebook page that they were inspired by the Olympian and delighted to have helped.

“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian, so we decided to support the fundraiser (for the baby),” it said.

Zabka also delivered a plot twist—the company said the medal will remain with Maria.

“We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria, who showed how great she is as a champion.”

The infant is currently being cared for in the hospice and will fly to the US for her much-needed surgery, though no date yet has been set according to his online fundraiser page.

Maria failed to clinch a medal by 2 cm. at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she placed fourth. In 2018, she was diagnosed with bone cancer, which she recovered from. She finished strong at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as she brought home her sweet silver medal win.

Banner and thumbnail photos from @m.andrejczyk on Instagram and AFP/via Getty