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Sarah Burke Medical Bills: Donations Helping Defray Hospital Costs For Family Of Dead Skier

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/21/2012 11:37 am Updated: 01/21/2012 11:37 am

While the grief experienced by the family and friends of Sarah Burke must be consuming following the tragic death of the 29-year-old freestyle skier, her loved ones may also be facing a more tangible problem -- Burke's medical bills.

After an accident during a training session on Jan. 11 in Park City, Utah, Burke was airlifted to a hospital in Salt Lake City. The Canadian freestyle pioneer and four-time Winter X Games champion was placed in a medically induced coma and scheduled for surgery. The skier remained in critical condition following surgery the following day to repair a tear to an artery that was causing bleeding in her brain. In the coming days, she remained sedated and dependent on a breathing tube as doctors observed her condition. A press conference on Jan. 16 to discuss Burke's condition was cancelled at the last minute.

On Jan. 19, nine days after the training crash, Burke died.

Shortly after Burke's passing, her family opened up a website to accept donations to help defray the substantial medical bills accrued during her hospital stay. According to the Los Angeles Times, the goal is to raise $550,000 to cover the medical costs.

As a Canadian citizen lived in Squamish, B.C., a small portion of Burke's medical bills will be covered by the British Columbia Ministry of Health. But it is unclear how the rest would be covered -- if not for the generous donations. Burke's fatal injury occurred while training for an event sponsored by Monster Energy Drink but it was initially unclear if they were going to pay medical fees or had an insurance policy in place to cover injuries during the event. On Jan. 20, former Olympian Marnie McBean tweeted about Monster's apparent inaction immediately following Burke's death.



Marnie McBean
Why isn't paying 's medical bill? Where's their insurance & support now?


On Jan. 20, Monster would also post a message on its website pledging "to support Sarah's family, are working directly with them to assess their needs and are committed to helping them financially."

Perhaps unaware of Monster's pledge or feeling that it had come too late considering all of the support that fans and well wishers had offered, McBean again tweeted about Monster's role in paying Burke's medical bills.



Marnie McBean
Public donations have covered 's medical costs! Fans 1 0 to Redbull?

Had Burke's injury occurred at an event sanctioned by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association then her medical costs would have been covered. As of the morning of Jan. 21, more than $240,000 had been contributed to the website set up by Burke's family. Donors had the opportunity to share a message if they chose. A donor named Sean Smith, who contributed $100 on Jan. 21, wrote "look for and feel Sarah's spirit, it is all around us. much love to the family."

SARAH BURKE IN PHOTOS
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  • Sarah Burke

    Sarah Burke of Canada skis to seventh place in the halfpipe finals of the FIS Freestyle World Cup at the VISA US Freeskiing Grand Prix on December 9, 2011 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

  • Men's and Women's FIS Freestyle World Cup Halfpipe Finals

    Sarah Burke of Canada prepares for halfpipe finals as she finished seventh in the FIS Freestyle World Cup at the VISA US Freeskiing Grand Prix on December 9, 2011 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

  • Canadian Sarah Burke jubilates on the po

    Canadian Sarah Burke jubilates on the podium after winning the men's freestyle superpipe World Cup, and the Globe de Cristal 2011, on March 20, 2011, in La Plagne, French Alps.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France.

  • 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports - Inside

    Skier Sarah Burke attends the 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2011 in New York City.

  • 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports - Inside

    Skier Sarah Burke attends the 32nd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2011 in New York City.

  • The 2011 ESPY Awards - Arrivals

    Skier Sarah Burke arrives at The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

  • The 2011 ESPY Awards - Arrivals

    Skier Sarah Burke arrives at The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France.

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    LA PLAGNE, FRANCE - MARCH 20: (FRANCE OUT) Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    LA PLAGNE, FRANCE - MARCH 20: (FRANCE OUT) Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

  • FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup - Men and Women's Half Pipe

    LA PLAGNE, FRANCE - MARCH 20: (FRANCE OUT) Sarah Burke of Canada takes 1st place, Devin Logan of USA takes 2nd place, Anais Caradeux of France takes 3rd place during the FIS Freestyle World Cup Men's and Women's Halfpipe on March 20, 2011 in La Plagne, France. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

  • Canadian Sarah Burke competes during the

    Canadian Sarah Burke competes during the Ladies' freestyle skiing halfpipe final as part of the FIS free style World Cup on March 20, 2011 in the French ski resort of La Plagne. Burke won the event. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • (LtoR) French Anais Caradeux, Canadian S

    (LtoR) French Anais Caradeux, Canadian Sarah Burke and US Davin Logan pose on the podium after women's Ski Superpipe final of the European Winter X-Games, on March 18, 2011 in the French Alps ski resort of Tignes. Burke won the event ahead of Caradeux and Logan. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships

    PARK CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 05: Sarah Burke #18 of Canada competes in the Ladies' Half Pipe final at the FIS Freestyle World Championships at Park City Mountain Resort on February 5, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

  • 30th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards - Inside

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13: Skier Sarah Burke speaks onstage during the 30th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards at The Waldorf=Astoria on October 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the Women�s Sports Foundation)

  • 30th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards - Red Carpet

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13: Skier Sarah Burke attends the 30th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Awards at The Waldorf=Astoria on October 13, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for the Women�s Sports Foundation)

  • Winter X Games Day 2

    ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 23: Sarah Burke participates in the Women's Skiing Superpipe Final on her way to winning the gold during Winter X Games 13 January 23, 2009 at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

  • Winter X Games Day 2

    ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 23: Sarah Burke of Whistler, Canada poses with her gold medal after winning the Women's Skiing Superpipe at Winter X Games 13 on Buttermilk Mountain on January 23, 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Winter X Games Day 2

    ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 23: Sarah Burke celebrates after winning the gold in the Women's Skiing Superpipe Final during Winter X Games 13 January 23, 2009 at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

  • Winter X Games Day 2

    ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 23: Sarah Burke of Whistler, Canada celebrates as she takes the podium after winning the gold medal in the Women's Skiing Superpipe at Winter X Games 13 on Buttermilk Mountain on January 23, 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Sarah Burke celebrates on the podium after her victory during the Ladies' freestyle skiing halfpipe final as part of the FIS free style World Cup on March 20, 2011 in the French ski resort of La Plagne. Burke won the event. (JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Sarah Burke arrives at the premiere of ESPN Films & Walt Disney Pictures' 'X Games 3D: The Movie' held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

  • Sarah Burke, snowboarders Torah Bright and Hannah Teter attend the 29th annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards presented by the Women's Sports Foundation at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on October 14, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for WSF)

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