Olympian auctions off medal to help pay for infant’s heart surgery

Just weeks after winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk sold her medal for $125,000 to help a family from her native Poland pay for their infant’s heart surgery.

Last week, Andrejczyk wrote on Facebook that she learned about Miłoszek Małysa, an 8-month-old who has a “serious heart defect” and needs surgery. She said the parents of a child who “didn’t make it in time” passed on donations to Małysa. 

“That’s how I also want to help,” Andrejczyk wrote. “He’s the one I’m auctioning off my silver medal of the Olympic Games.”

By Friday, she had a winner –  Żabka, a Polish convenience store chain, bought the medal for $125,000, Andrejczyk announced on Facebook.

“It is with the greatest pleasure to give you Żabka this medal, which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds,” the 25-year-old Olympian wrote. “I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together.”

Maria Andrejczyk
Poland’s Maria Andrejczyk celebrates in Tokyo on August 7, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty

In another sweet twist, the convenience store announced on Monday it would let Andrejczyk keep her medal.

“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture of our Olympian, so we decided to support the fundraiser for Miłoszek,” Żabka tweeted. “We also decided the silver medal will remain with Mrs. Maria.”

Małysa, who is currently receiving home hospice care, will fly to the U.S. for surgery, according to his fundraiser page. It’s not clear when the surgery will take place.

In 2016, Andrejczyk competed in the Rio Olympics but missed medaling by just 2 centimeters, ESPN reported. She then suffered a shoulder injury in 2017 and was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018. However, she recovered and returned to win silver at the Tokyo Olympics.