Why People Are Calling This Olympian a Hero

August 26th 2016

Almie Rose

We saw a lot of heroism emerge from the 2016 Olympics. Now we can add Piotr Malachowski, a discus thrower from Poland, to the list. Malachowski won a silver medal in Rio — and then sold it in an online auction.

Piotr Małachowski silver medal

In doing so, he saved a life.

"Fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my 'Silver'"

Malachowski heard about a 3-year-old boy, "Olek," with a rare form of eye cancer known as Retinoblastoma. Olek's mother wrote to Malachowski asking for his help. Olek needed life-saving surgery. Malachowski had an idea. He wrote about it on Facebook:

Using a rough Facebook translation, here's Małachowski's story:

"Win[ing] An Olympic Medal [is] an athlete's life fulfilling dreams ... I did everything in my power to get [gold]. Unfortunately this time it didn't work. But fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my 'Silver.'

"[...] I'm asking for help in rescuing her little boy ... Retinoblastoma is malignant cancer of the eye, which exists only in children under the age of 5, specially like choosing the weakest. Poland doesn't stand a chance of saving [him]. Only chance is therapy in New York.

"[...] In Rio. I fought for the gold. Today I appeal to everyone - let's fight together about something that is even more precious. The Health of this fantastic boy. So you are all invited to the auction: http://bit.ly/2b41eXH. If you help me, my silver ... can be more precious than gold."

The auction received a lot of attention and raised about $19,000, according to The Washington Post. However, this was not nearly enough, as the surgery was estimated to cost around $126,000.

But Malachowski's efforts weren't in vain.

He reports in an updated Facebook post, "My darlings. We made it." Dominic and Sebastian Kulczyk of Warsaw, Poland, who are worth $3.4 billion according to Forbes, stepped in and purchased the medal for an undisclosed sum.

Silver medal Rio

Malachowski adds,

"Thank you everyone who took part in the auction on Ebay ... 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."

[h/t The Washington Post]