WARSAW - Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski auctioned off the silver medal he won in the discus competition at the Rio Summer Olympics to help pay for the treatment of a young boy with a rare cancer, the athlete said in a social media post.
Malachowski said in a Facebook post Friday that the boy, 3-year-old Olek Szymanski, has retinoblastoma, an eye cancer affecting young children, and the only hope for treatment is in New York, far from their native Poland.
“Winning an Olympic medal is one of an athlete’s life dreams,“ Malachowski said. “Of course, the most precious is gold. I did everything in my power to get it. Unfortunately this time I did not succeed. However, fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my ‘silver.’”
The discus thrower, who won silver in both the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Games, said the boy’s mother wrote to him shortly after his recent athletic triumph to ask for help.
Reuters reports “a Polish foundation called Siepomaga has already gathered about a third of the roughly 480,000 zlotys ($126,000) it said was needed to finance the boy’s treatment at ophthalmic oncologist David Abramson’s clinic in New York.”
In a later Facebook post, Malachowski wrote that he’d sold the medal to Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk “for a sum that allows us to complete” the fundraiser.
“We were able to demonstrate that together we can make miracles. My silver medal is today worth much more than it was just a week ago. It is worth the life and health of little Olek. This is our great, shared success.”