POLAND – For an athlete, an Olympic medal is a priceless possession.
But for Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski, his winning medal may be an opportunity for something bigger.
Malachowski took home a silver medal during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but he didn’t hold on to it for long. The athlete auctioned off his award this week to help a cancer-stricken boy.
The money raised from the auction will go toward funding treatment for 3-year-old Olek’s eye cancer.
“For an athlete, to win an Olympic medal is a dream come true… however, fate has given me a chance to increase the value of my silver,” he wrote in Polish on his Facebook page.
After the competition, Olek’s mother reached out to the Olympian, asking if Malachowski could help her son. For two years, the young boy has been fighting retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that typically affects children.
“There is no chance to save Olek’s eye in Poland. His only chance is a therapy in New York,” Malachowski explained.
He encouraged his fans to help spread the word about the auction and created the hashtag #OcalicOkoOlka, which, translated from Polish, means “Save Olek’s Eye.”
“In Rio I fought for gold. Today I make an appeal to everyone — let’s fight together for something that is even more valuable,” he added. “If you help him, my silver medal might be more valuable to Olek than gold.”
The athlete’s heartfelt post was shared across social media by thousands of people.
A few days after sharing Olek’s story, Malachowski announced that the medal was sold.
“My silver medal today is worth much more than a week ago,” he said.