Pole auctions his Rio medal to save child's eyes

Discus silver medallist Piotr Malachowski hopes the price fetched by his medal will raise crucial funds to treat Olek Szymanski, a three-year-old Polish boy suffering from a rare cancer.
Discus silver medallist Piotr Malachowski hopes the price fetched by his medal will raise crucial funds to treat Olek Szymanski, a three-year-old Polish boy suffering from a rare cancer. PHOTO: REUTERS

WARSAW • Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski may have won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, but he definitely has a heart of gold.

The athlete announced on Saturday that he has put up his medal for sale to help raise funds for a boy with a rare cancer.

"In Rio, I fought for gold," Malachowski said on his Facebook profile. "Today, I call on all people - let us fight together for something that is even more valuable. For the health of this fantastic boy."

Reigning world champion Malachowski said all the money raised from the auction would be spent on treating three-year-old Polish boy Olek Szymanski, who has suffered for nearly two years from retinoblastoma, an eye cancer affecting young children.

"There is no chance of saving Olek's eyes in Poland. The only chance is therapy in New York," Malachowski added.

A Polish foundation called Siepomaga has already raised about a third of the roughly 480,000 zlotys (S$170,000) it said was needed to finance the boy's treatment at ophthalmic oncologist David Abramson's clinic in New York.

The highest bid in the auction for Malachowski's silver medal on Poland's Allegro website had reached about US$6,000 (S$8,132) by the end of the day after his announcement.

The auction ends tomorrow.

"I invite everybody to join the bidding. If you help me, my silver medal may be more valuable for Olek than gold," Malachowski said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Pole auctions his Rio medal to save child's eyes'. Print Edition | Subscribe