Olympian judoka Yarden Gerbi won a hard-fought bronze medal three weeks ago at the Rio Games, but since that historic achievement she has lent her strength to the formidable fight against cancer, raising 196,000 shekels ($51,730) on behalf of children fighting the disease.
Gerbi put her signed nametag, which appeared on the back of her Olympic uniform during her historic medal run, up for auction on eBay, pledging all proceeds to the Dana Children’s Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The public, online auction ended August 29.
In a Facebook message she posted two weeks ago to announce the auction, Gerbi commemorated the late Liran Or, a young girl she met in the hospital’s pediatric cancer treatment facility, who recently lost her battle with cancer.
“I recently learned that Liran Or, a wonderful and beloved girl I kept in touch with, has passed away,” Gerbi wrote. “This terrible news about Liran hit me hard and saddened me deeply, and at the same time also strengthened my resolve to continue raising money for the [children’s] ward. Three years ago, I won the world championships. In a public auction, I sold my nametag and was able to raise NIS 15,000 [$4,000] for Yedidim [a social services organization for children, teens and young adults] and the children’s oncology ward at Sourasky Medical Center.”
Gerbi added: “I don’t know how much [money] I’ll be able to raise but any amount will help, even if just a little. I fight on the judo mat, but in visiting the children’s ward I’ve met true heroes, who fight every day — children who fight and try to maintain the joy of living.”
On Monday, as stated, the winning bid was made, by a donor who has thus far remained anonymous.
Gerbi thanked the unnamed benefactor on her Facebook page, writing that the money will “go to these amazing kids. Thank you very much to the donor, who will receive the nametag with my personal signature. If he wants, I will post his name later on.”
The Israeli Olympian ended her post by wishing good health to all children fighting cancer.