Getting the Olympic medal should be, for an athlete, the most ambitious goal to achieve in the own career. However, the Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski has demonstrated with his exemplary behavior that sometimes reaching the top might be the opportunity for something even bigger.
Malachowski earned his second silver medal during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (the first had been achieved during the 2008 Beijing edition) in the discus throw discipline, finishing just 82 cm adrift of Germany’s Christoph Harting, who took the gold.
But just after a few week after the celebration for the victory, Malachowski announced his totally unexpected will on his Facebook profile: the athlete would have donated his award to help a compatriot 3-years-old boy, who had been stricken by retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer which usually affects young children. The decision came after Olek’s mother contacted the just triumphant Polish athlete, asking him if could help her son. The money raised from the auction of the precious medal would have gone toward a funding for the treatment of this particular disease, only available in New York.
As we wrote on his Facebook page “ The fate has given me a chance to increase the value of my silver.”: in fact, immediately he made an appeal to his fans to help spread the word about the auction by creating the hashtag #OcalicOkoOlka, which, translated from Polish, means “Save Olek’s Eye.”
“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,” and “If you help him, my silver medal might be more valuable to Olek than gold.“, finally, he added.
The athlete’s touching post caused a great sharing of Olek’s story, being seen and re-shared by thousands and thousand of people on social networks, until he finally managed to sell his trophy. Malachowski communicated it again by using the powerful tool of social web.
The medal had been bought by a millionaire Polish couple, allowing earning an amount of $84,000, whilst the total amount required for the surgery was about $126,000. Fortunately, a Polish foundation called Siepomaga could collect about a third of the whole costs, helping Malachowski’s gesture to be useful to save Olek’s life.
“My silver medal today is worth a lot more than a week ago. It is worth the life and health of a small Olek. It is our great shared success.”
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