Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk sells Olympic medal to save baby’s life

Kamahl Cogdon, August 22, 2021 2:30PM Kids News

Print Article

Poland's Maria Andrejczyk celebrates on the podium after claiming the silver medal in the women's javelin at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Picture: AFP media_cameraPoland's Maria Andrejczyk celebrates on the podium after claiming the silver medal in the women's javelin at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Picture: AFP

sport

Reading level: green

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk has shown she has a heart of gold, selling the silver medal she won at the Tokyo Olympics to fund lifesaving surgery for a sick baby.

The Olympian, a bone cancer survivor, auctioned off her medal for $175,000 ($125,000 US), donating the money to help an eight-month-old Polish boy with a serious heart problem.

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

“It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”

The medal was bought by a Polish convenience store chain called Zabka, which promptly* announced it was letting Andrejczyk keep the medal.

The money will help pay for an operation for Miloszek at Stanford University Medical Center in the US.

“It is with the greatest pleasure that I am handing over to you Zabka, the little big store chain, my medal, which to me is a symbol of faith* and perseverance* in the face of great obstacles,” Andrejczyk wrote on Facebook.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 15 media_cameraSilver medallist Maria Andrejczyk blows a kiss to her supporters during the medal ceremony for the javelin at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Getty Images

In an interview on Polish television, the 25-year-old Olympian said winning the medal brought her “enormous happiness” and that she wanted to “pass that happiness on” to a young child who needed it.

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

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk sold her Olympic silver medal to fun life-saving treatment for baby Miloszek Malysa who has a heart defect. media_cameraA photograph of baby Miloszek from the fundraising page set up to pay for the treatment he needs. Picture: siepomaga.pl

A fundraising page for baby Miloszek says his condition is very serious.

His heart defect causes his blood pressure to skyrocket, damaging the arteries in his lungs and is heart.

The baby lives with his family in southern Poland and needs to travel to the US for an operation that will give him a chance of survival.

Andrejczyk knows what it is like to battle health problems.

After missing out on a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics by just 2cm, she sat out the next year with a shoulder injury and was then diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018.

But she fought back from both challenges to finish second in the javelin at the Tokyo Games. Her silver medal throw of 64.61m was just behind China’s Liu Shiying who threw 66.34m to take the gold.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 14 media_cameraMaria Andrejczyk competes in the women’s javelin final at the Tokyo Olympic Games on August 6, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

After it won the auction, Zabka announced on social media that it would let Andrejczyk keep her medal, and make a donation to Miloszek in her name.

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

GLOSSARY

  • defect: problem
  • promptly: quickly, without delay
  • faith: strong belief or trust in someone or something
  • perseverance: continue to do or try to achieve something despite the difficulties
  • noble: admired because it is good, honest, courageous, caring

EXTRA READING

How giving a little makes a big difference

Kindness shone through competition in Tokyo

Step up and step out for a kinder world

Twiggy’s record-breaking donation

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What colour medal did Maria Andrejczyk win at the Tokyo Olympics?
  2. What event did she win this medal in?
  3. What health problem does baby Miloszek have?
  4. What health problems of her own has Maria Andrejczyk had?
  5. How will the money from the medal sale be used?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Heart of gold
Maria Andrejczyk is described as having “a heart of gold” for her selfless act. Who do you know that has a heart of gold? Write about this person, explaining who they are and what they do for the benefit of others. What do you think motivates them? How does what they do inspire you?

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability; Ethical Understanding

2. Extension
Think of three simple things you can do today that will show others your “heart of gold” (eg help somebody out, give a compliment, call a friend or relative to check how they are, etc). Write them in a list, then do them, ticking each one off as you complete it.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability; Ethical Understanding

VCOP ACTIVITY
Creative vocabulary
Find a bland sentence from the article to up-level. Can you add more detail and description? Can you replace any ‘said’ words with more specific synonyms?

Have you outdone yourself and used some really great vocabulary throughout your writing? Firstly, well done. Secondly, let’s ensure everyone can understand it by adding a glossary of terms. Pick three of your wow words and create a glossary for each word to explain what it means.

Extra Reading in sport