Gold medalist auctions medal to help children

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

WARSAW, Poland -- Otylia Jedrzejczak auctioned her swimming gold medal from the Athens Olympics to raise money for children with leukemia.

Jedrzejczak sold the medal she won for the 200-meter butterfly to Polish food company Victoria Cymes on Sunday for $82,750. The money will go to the Wroclaw Medical University.

"It will be a nice Christmas gift for these children, and for me that I can help them in some way," Jedrzejczak told The Associated Press.

Jedrzejczak said she was inspired by a book she read before the Olympics about a boy who died from leukemia.

Alicja Chybicka, head of the teaching hospital's cancer unit, said the funds will go toward construction of a rehabilitation center, new medical equipment or research.

"This girl has a heart of gold," Chybicka said. "It is people like her who make a true difference in these children's lives."

The Polish State Mint made a solid gold replica of the original gold-plated medal and presented it to Jedrzejczak, her trainer, Pawel Slominski, said. Jedrzejczak still has the original silver medals she won in Athens in the 400 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

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