Track-and-field star Piotr Malachowski won 11 medals in the Rio Olympics: two golds, three silvers, and six bronzes. He earned one of those silver medals for the men’s discus event. Though he did his best to earn gold, he wrote that “Fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my silver.”
After the competition, a mother reached out to Malachowski. Her 3-year-old son, Olek Syzmanski, suffers from retinoblastoma, a hard-hitting type of eye cancer most commonly diagnosed in children. Olek needs a $126,000 surgery to effectively treat the illness and Malachowski agreed to help. He decided to auction off his silver medal via a fundraising website in order to help Olek.
Nearly a third of the surgery’s cost had already been raised by a Polish foundation called SiePomaga. Malachowski’s efforts brought in $19,000 by late August. At the end of the month, he prematurely ended the auction. Polish siblings Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk offered to pay the difference, giving Olek the opportunity to have the surgery that could save his sight.
“We made it,” Malachowski wrote to those who supported Olek. “We were able to show that together we can make miracles. My silver medal today is worth much more than a week ago. This is our big joint success.”