An Olympic athlete is showing people the world over what it means to be a real hero. Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski recently sold the silver medal he won at the Rio Games to help the family of a little boy pay for cancer treatments.
Olek Szymanski, who is only three years old, has a very rare form of eye cancer known as reinoblastroma and needed to travel to New York for treatment. When Malachowski heard of the little boy’s plight, he decided to help the family with the financial burden of treating Olek’s cancer by selling his medal. Announcing the auction on his Facebook page, Malachowski hoped to raise $84,000 for Olek’s treatment.
After only three days, Malachowski decided to end the auction. Despite having raised only $19,000, the Olympian told his supporters that the billionaire couple Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk had offered to buy the medal. Although Malachowski did not say how much the Kulczyks paid, he noted that Olek’s treatment was estimated to cost around $126,000, and the sale of the medal would completely cover the family’s medical bills.
Even though Malachowski gave up one of the greatest accomplishments of his life, he has no regrets about selling his silver medal. In rallying his supporters, Malachowski said “let us fight together for something that is even more valuable. For the health of this fantastic boy.”
Even though the Rio Games faced their share of controversy and negativity, Malachowski’s actions help to ensure a positive legacy for the 2016 Games. While Malachowski has not said if he has plans to compete in anymore Olympic Games, he remains a highly decorated athlete. In the 2008 Beijing Games, Malachowski also won a silver medal in the discus.