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Sarah Burke's family asks for help with large medical bills

Paula Duffy's picture

Sarah Burke died this week after days on life support. The Winter X Games freestyle half-pipe innovator incurred large medical bills in the nine days of her hospitalization.

Sarah Burke's sad passing in Utah at the age of 29 not only left a void for her family, friends and the fans who adored her. It left hundreds of thousands in unpaid medical bills that her family knows that Sarah's husband Rory Bushfield will be unable to pay in full.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the establishment of the website to take donations from those interested to participate. The goal is to raise $550,000 and as of this writing on Jan. 20, 2012, $124,000 has been pledged and contributed.

GiveForward.com is the site on which Sarah Burke's family has settled for the money drive. The family's message on the site reads in part:

"Sarah leaves behind her beloved husband Rory, loving parents Jan and Gordon and her supportive sister Anna. Please consider helping them cover the enormous cost of Sarah's recent medical care and to provide for other arrangements by donating. Your support in their greatest time of need will be gratefully appreciated and forever remembered. We encourage you to share this link with others who have been touched by Sarah."

Sarah Burke's legacy in the world of action sports is one of a fearless and innovative competitor who lobbied for her sport's respect. Her tireless efforts to gain recognition for her beloved freestyle half-pipe resulted in the sport's inclusion in the next Winter Olympics, scheduled for 2014 in Dochi, Russia.

Burke crashed during a training run in Park City, Utah on January 10, at the same spot as Kevin Pearce when he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a training accident on Dec. 31, 2009. She was operated on after reaching the hospital at the University of Utah and died 9 days later.

Her family issued a statement explaining the circumstances of her death. "Tests revealed that she sustained "irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest."

Burke was expected to excel at next week's Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. She was already a six-time X Games gold medalist. Sarah admitted that she had been lucky in her career by avoiding catastrophic injury.

In 2009 she broke a vertebrae in her back but would not be deterred from competing at the highest level once she healed and rehabbed enough for her to get back on the slopes.

Image: Winter X Games, used with permission

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