After losing out on his bid to get his first Olympic gold medal, Piotr Malachowski has decided to auction off the silver medal he earned at this summer’s Olympic Games to help fund vital cancer treatment for a three-year-old boy.
The Olympic discus thrower had initially been contacted by the toddler’s mother after his success in the field at Rio. The proceeds will go towards treating Olek Szymanski who suffers from retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer that generally affects young children.
Around a third of the sum had already been raised to help Szymanski via a Polish charity called Siepomaga. The total amount needed would be $126,000, so Malachowski was hoping for around $84,000 for the medal.
However, the medal was removed from the auction on Tuesday having reached a value of $19,000. This was due to a bid from the wealthiest people in Poland. The buyers were named as siblings Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk who inherited a fortune of $3.4 billion from their later father Jan. Their bid enabled Malachowski to reach his target for the treatment.
Despite his disappointment about not having won the gold after having achieved silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Malachowski revealed via Facebook that it gave him the opportunity to help somebody in need.
He wrote: “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.’”
“There is no chance of saving Olek’s eyes in Poland. The only chance is therapy in New York.”
Szymanski will be sent to David Abramson’s Ophthalmic Oncology Service where he provides “the only service of its kind dedicated to ophthalmic oncology in a cancer hospital in the US.”
With all the controversies surrounding the Games, Malachowski has ensured that the Olympic spirit is still very much alive.