Maria Andrejczyk, of Poland, poses with her silver medal in javelin won at the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 7. She then sold her medal for $125,000 to help an 8-month-old child who needed an operation. Martin Meissner/Associated Press

For Maria Andrejczyk, something mattered more than the silver medal she won in the javelin during the Tokyo Olympics. So the bone cancer survivor decided to auction her medal to raise money to help pay for surgery for an 8-month-old baby with a heart defect.

Andrejczyk came across a fundraiser for Miłoszek Małysa, she wrote Aug. 11 on Facebook, and chose to sell her only Olympic medal to help a stranger. Andrejczyk wrote, “I also want to help. It’s for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”

On Monday, she wrote that a $125,000 bid from Zabka Polska, a Polish convenience store chain, was the winner, with funds helping the child have surgery at Stanford University Medical Center. She wrote that she was giving the store chain her medal, “which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds.”

Zabka Polska, however, gave the medal back to Andrejczyk.

Andrejczyk had missed winning a medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics by a mere two centimeters. After Rio, her road to Tokyo was difficult as she dealt with shoulder and Achilles’ injuries and, far more troubling, learned that persistent headaches and nasal problems were osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

“It was not something very dangerous and I knew I could make a quick recovery,” she told in 2020.

Three weeks after surgery, she was training again and this time she did not leave the Olympics in disappointment, winning the silver medal with a throw of 64.61 meters. China’s Liu Shiying took gold with a 66.34.

“I just want to be healthy first,” she said. “If I stay healthy I can then show what I’m capable of. I still love that feeling of improving through training. Javelin has made me a better person. It brings me joy.”

The fundraiser for Miłoszek on the Polish GoFundMe-type site was more than 90% complete as of Tuesday night.

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