Bronze-medalist judoka Yarden Gerbi has sold her Olympic name tag through the eBay auction site, raising almost NIS 200,000, which she intends to donate for medical equipment at a Tel Aviv hospital.
Gerbi wrote in the description of the auction: “After winning my Olympic bronze medal I decided to sell my name patch from this thrilling moment. For several years now that I cherish [sic] Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. All profits from this auction will be used as a donation for buying important medical equipment. I hope that together we will manage to raise a significant amount of money.”
And she succeeded in her goal, with the winning bid coming in at $52,100.00 (almost NIS 200,000). Gerbi has said that she will dedicate the tag to the seller and sign it.
In a Facebook post about the auction, Gerbi said that the money would go to the children’s oncology ward. She wrote that “when I visited the ward with Professor [Jacob] Bickles I met amazing kids who are heroes, doing their best to fight and keep high spirits.”
Three years ago Gerbi also auctioned her ID and donated money to the same cause after winning the 2013 World Judo Championships. Then, she was able to raise $3,800 for the oncology ward.
Gerbi — whose bronze during the Rio Games made her the second Israeli woman to win a medal at the Olympics — said donating the proceeds from the identification tag to the pediatric cancer treatment facility at Ichilov Hospital would make it “more special for society.”
On August 9, Gerbi defeated Japan’s Miku Tashiru in the runner-up bout to clinch the bronze in judo, the first Israeli Olympic medal since 2008.
Three days later, fellow judoka Or Sasson brushed off an unpleasant encounter with Egyptian fighter Islam El Shehaby in the over-100 kilogram category, winning two more matches and only narrowly losing to France’s legendary Teddy Riner. He then beat Cuba’s Alex Mendoza to claim the bronze.
Gerbi is not the only Olympian to raise money for cancer treatment upon returning from Rio. Poland’s Piotr Malachowski, a discus silver medalist, auctioned off his medal to help pay for treatment for a 3-year-old boy blinded with retinoblastoma. Malachowski planned to raise two-thirds of the total cost, but billionaire siblings Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk stepped in and purchased the medal for an undisclosed sum, covering the entire cost.
“My silver medal today is worth a lot more than [it was] a week ago. It is worth the life and health of a small Olek. It is our great shared success,” Malachowski said.