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He won the world championship, then came the diagnosis. The Polish Paralympian is collecting expensive medicine

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Michał Dąbrowski knows what a fight is, because he fights with his own weaknesses every day. He qualified for the Paralympic Fencing Games on his own, but to go to Paris he has to beat cancer. The treatment is expensive and not reimbursed, so he needs help.

When Michał Dąbrowski won the world championship in wheelchair fencing last fall, he did not know that he was just starting the most important fight in his life. – During these world championships, Michał was already very sick. Just before the diagnosis that he had cancer – says Grzegorz Pluta, fencing coach.

The Polish fencer was coughing, losing weight and was very weak. The diagnosis came right after the gold medal and was like a verdict. – I am currently being treated for bile duct cancer – admits Michał Dąbrowski.

The 38-year-old athlete replaced the fencing board with a hospital corridor. He has just finished the first round of chemotherapy, his health has improved and the test results are promising. However, according to doctors, in order for the fencer to regain his full strength, he must – in addition to chemotherapy – undergo immunological treatment.

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– He did not give up. Just as he fought until the end on the fencing boards, he did not give up in this fight against cancer – notes Stefan Makowski, fencing coach. – This fencing is not only a sport, a discipline that he got into, but there are also his friends there – emphasizes Barbara Dąbrowska, the wife of the sick fencer.

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It was the fencer's friends who organized a collection for the non-reimbursed medicine. The first doses were financed by the Polish Paralympic Committee and people of good will, but the entire therapy requires over PLN 800,000. – This is a treatment that extends the life of such patients – explains Anna Waśko-Grabowska, deputy head of the Clinical Oncology Department of the European Health Center Otwock.

They cut their hair to make wigs for cancer survivors. Action of the Włocławek Aero ClubJarosław Kostkowski/Fakty TVN

A chance to participate in the Paralympic Games

10 years ago, during construction works, Michał Dąbrowski fell from the roof and broke his spine. He suffered from depression and did not leave the house. It was his wife who encouraged him to take up fencing. He became an athlete and a father – today 8-year-old Hansel and 2-year-old Małgosia. – This is also a driving force that makes me want to get cured – says the sick fencer.

The world championship and victories in cup competitions qualified him for the Paralympic Games in Paris. However, there is one condition. – Today, his performance at the Paralympic Games is still in doubt because the doctors have not yet given their consent – informs Łukasz Szeliga from Polish Paralympic Committee.

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The positive opinion of sports doctors depends on the results of treatment, and these, in turn, on the availability of expensive medicine. – Taking part in the Paralympic Games will be an additional, positive stimulus – says Stefan Makowski.

Doctors' decision coming soon. If a fencer goes to Paris, it will be during a break between subsequent stages of therapy and with a specific plan. – Win a medal and see my children turn 18 – confesses Michał Dąbrowski.


Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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