There is no shortage of heartwarming tales of champion athletes using their power of victory to fill their loved ones with pride and joy; even going as far as donating or sharing their rewards to improve the lives of others.
One Olympic athlete on a heroic mission used her medal to help save the life of a sick baby.
Maria Andrejczyk is a fighter to the end.
The twenty-five-year-old Polish athlete, born in the village of Kukle close to the Lithuanian border, first ventured into sports through volleyball, and eventually picked up javelin as her sport of choice.
Debuting in international sports in 2013, Andrejczyk has seen ups and downs in her career, prevailing in some championships and recovering in others.
After securing fourth place in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she sustained injuries to her shoulders, followed by a cancer scare in 2018.
Despite these heavy setbacks, she fought through her troubles and prevailed, going on to again represent her country in the Olympics.
Victory for a life
Due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Andrejcyzk had time to recover from yet another injury prior to this year’s competition, where she won a silver medal for Poland.
However, the victory was not just a show of national pride.
Five days after claiming her medal, Andrejcyzk announced that she would auction her hard-earned award off to raise funds for a baby in need of expensive medical attention.
After being diagnosed with a critical heart defect that could not be treated by local Polish healthcare services, 18 month Miloszek Malysa was transferred to the Stanford University Medical Center in California.
Although she did not know the family, Andrejcyzk went all out with the auction to give baby Miloszek the chance to live a healthy life.
Andrejcyzk stated that Miloszek’s family needed $385,000 to cover the costs for transportation and treatment. She wrote on Facebook that some funds were already achieved from a family whose son sadly passed away from similar conditions.
“[Miloszek] already has a head start from Kubus — a boy who didn’t make it in time but whose amazing parents decided to pass on the funds they collected.” wrote Andrejcyzk on the Facebook post, translated into English.
Double dose of charity
On Monday, after putting her medal up for auction, Andrejcyzek announced a winner. With a bid of $125,000, a Polish supermarket chain Żabka secured the silver medal and provided the athlete with a large portion of the funds needed to complete Miloszek’s treatment.
Andrejcyzek wrote that she was “eternally grateful” to the company and it was with the “greatest pleasure” she gave Żabka her silver medal for their generous contribution.
“I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together,” wrote Andrejcyzek.
As the saying goes, “one good turn deserves another.” Touched by her selflessness, the supermarket chain decided to return the precious, genuine Olympic medal to Andrejcyzk.
“We were moved by the beautiful and extremely noble gesture,” Żabka wrote on Facebook. “We also decided that the silver medal from Tokyo will stay with Ms. Maria, who showed how great a champion she is.”
Every life is precious
For Andrejcyzek, the medal was more than just a prize to be won; it was a chance to save a life.
“A medal is only an object, but it can be of great value to others.” Andrejczyk said to a Polish TV station, as reported by the Times of London. “This silver can save lives, instead of collecting dust in a closet. That is why I decided to auction it to help sick children.”
Helping people we know and love is only natural, but for one to put so much heart and soul into helping a stranger is an inspiring message of hope and humanity.
When human beings show compassion and selflessness, they are aligning themselves with heavenly principles, and improving their chance of survival during these troubled times. If compassion is contagious, it could spread like a sweeping remedy to save the world.