Maria Magdalena Andrejczyk won the silver medal in javelin throwing in the Tokyo Olympics. But a few weeks ago, the Polish Olympian announced on Facebook that she’s auctioning off her silver medal to raise money for an operation for Miloszek Malysa. The 8-month-old was under home hospice care and needed urgent heart surgery in the United States to live. On the fundraiser page, Monika, Miloszek’s mother, begged for help to save her son. His condition was only worsening.
So Andrejczyk answered the call. On her Facebook post, she told people to bid via private messages. “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.” Now, the post has over 700 comments and over 1.6 thousand shares.
Olympian Auctions Her Silver Medal to Save a Life
At last, Andrejczyk announced the winner of the auction: the Polish convenience store chain, Zabka. They placed the top bid of $125,000. However, Zabka refused to take the silver medal. The auction has raised more than the initial amount asked for, so the Olympian chose to end the auction so the family could receive the money as soon as possible. Her fans had donated an additional $76,500 to help the infant, whose heart defects are increasing his blood pressure and causing damage to the arteries in his lungs and heart.
After the auction, Andrejczyk said in a translated Facebook post, “It is with the greatest pleasure that I give Żabka this medal, which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith, and pursuit of dreams despite many odds. I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together.”
However, Żabka had a surprise for the Olympian. “We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian,” the company said in a Facebook post translated from Polish. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will remain with Ms. Maria, who showed how great she is.” 
Olympian and Survivor
Although Andrejczyk has never met Miloszek, she is no stranger to fighting a life-threatening disease. The 25-year-old has survived cancer and a shoulder injury that required surgery in order to compete in Tokyo where she earned her silver medal.
After she missed winning a medal by 2 centimeters in the 2016 Olympics, two years later, she got diagnosed with bone cancer and still made it to the finals in Tokyo. She won silver with a 64.61-meter javelin throw, only surpassed by Liu Shiying of China with 66.34 meters. “I’m very proud of myself,” Andrejczyk said in an interview. “I fought like a lioness through a lot of pain and depression.” 
And the authorities in her community in Poland were planning on making and giving her a replica of her medal before Zabka announced they wouldn’t be taking the original. 
“Passing That Happiness”
In an interview with the Polish sports show Eurosport Polska, Andrejczyk explained that earning the medal had given her “enormous happiness” and she wanted to “pass that happiness on” to a young child who could use some.
“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart,” Andrejczyk 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.”
This isn’t the first time a silver medal saved a child’s life. Piotr Malachowski, the 2016 silver medalist in the men’s discus, sold his medal to raise money for surgery to treat a young boy’s eye cancer. 
- “An Olympian Sold Her Silver Medal To Fund A Boy’s Surgery. The Buyer Let Her Keep It.” NPR. Joe Hernandez. August 19, 2021
- “Polish Olympian auctions medal to pay for toddler’s heart operation.” NBC News. Corky Siemaszko. August 18, 2021
- “Polish Olympian Maria Andrejczyk auctions medal for infant’s life-saving operation.” CBC. August 19, 2021
- “Olympic Silver Medalist Auctions Medal to Pay for Heart Surgery for Eight-Month-Old Baby.” Newsweek. Dan Cancian. August 18, 2021