Olympian auctions off medal to raise £140,000 for baby’s life-saving surgery

Polish javelin star Maria Andrejczyk has auctioned off her silver medal won in Tokyo to fund a young boy’s life-saving heart surgery.

After finishing on the podium this summer, Andrejczyk stated she would use her medal to aid others as she overcame bone cancer herself.

She chose to help a young Polish boy named Miloszek, who requires heart surgery at Stanford hospital in the USA.

“Miloszek has a serious heart defect,” Andrejczyk wrote on Facebook. “He needs an operation.

“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.

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

Andrejczyk was hoping to auction her medal off and fund half of the cost of Miloszek’s surgery, with his donation page striving for 1.5million Polish zloty – just over £280,000.

On Monday, Andrejczyk announced that Polish convenience store Zabka had won the auction with their donation and further contributions from others surpassing her target of £140,000.

Andrejczyk wrote: “We have the winner of the auction!

"On Friday I received this wonderful information, and due to the fact that you dears have already done wonders and joint forces have paid more than the equivalent of the initial medal to the Miłoszek account — I decided to end the auction so that our Miłoszek will receive the whole amount as soon as possible and can fly to the USA.

"The winner, and at the same time, the company I will be eternally grateful to is the company Zabka."

The store confirmed that they made the winning bid with a Facebook message: "We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture" made by Andrejczyk.

Zabka then gracefully declined to accept the silver medal and declared that it remains with the 25-year-old.

"We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria."

Andrejczyk missed out on a medal five years ago at Rio 2016 by just 2cm and she the following year with a shoulder injury and was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.

However, she admirably battled back to come second in Japan and the Pole was visibly emotional on the Tokyo podium.

Andrejczyk explained why she was auctioning the medal, knowing that it has a greater value than simply celebrating her achievement.

“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart,” she told Polish television. “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.”

As of Tuesday morning, the donations for Miloszek’s surgery were close to the 90 per cent mark – around £250,000.

Andrejczyk‘s personal best of 71.4m is the third-longest ever thrown by a woman in the javelin.

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