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The world of sports always brings us incredible stories about competitiveness. But sometimes it also brings us stories so inspiring that can move even the fiercest of warriors. One of the latest has happened at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, starring javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk ´s medal, and for a great cause.
The athlete of Polish origin has auctioned off her recently won silver medal to raise funds to help an 8-month-old baby that needs life-saving heart surgery.
The Polish infant, called Miloszek, needs to travel from Poland to Stanford University, California, to undergo heart surgery to survive a serious heart defect.
The winning bidder
Five days after winning the Olympic silver medal, Maria chose to raise funds for Miloszek. She did not know him, but she made her decision after she read online pleas for help from the infant’s parents.
Zabka, a Polish convenience store chain, made the winning bid of $125,000. The figure was more than the athlete’s fundraising goal. Most heartwarmingly, Zabka gracefully declined to accept the silver medal and asked Maria to keep her medal.
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On a Facebook message, Zabka wrote:
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture made by Andrejczyk. We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria.”
Maria´s first Olympic Medal
The 25-year-old javelin thrower won the silver medal with a throw of 64.61 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Ahead of her was China’s Liu Shiying who won the gold medal with a distance of 66.34 meters.
This was the first Olympic medal for Maria Andrejczyk, who, in 2018, was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer. Her case required surgery without chemotherapy. A year after the diagnosis, she qualified for the 2019 world championships, finishing second in the 2019 European Team Championships Super League. However, she was eliminated from the World Championship in the qualifying round.
Fortunately, she recovered on time to compete in Tokyo. And she won a deserved Silver Medal that helped to such a great cause.
On Monday she confirmed that she exceeded the funds’ goal. The infant will receive the whole amount to be able to fly to the USA as soon as possible and undergo the life-saving surgery needed.
After all, the medal came back to Maria´s hands again. She showed the world that the value of a medal can go beyond that of recognizing the best athlete in a competition.
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