Burke's family raising funds for medical bills

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:03 PM ET

Two fundraising websites have been set up in the name of Sarah Burke to cover her family's medical costs.

Burke -- a trailblazer in freestyle halfpipe skiing and, in many ways, the face of the extreme sport in Canada -- died Thursday from injuries suffered Jan. 10 in a crash during a training run at an event in Park City, Utah.

The 29-year-old had surgery Jan. 11 to repair a ruptured vertebral artery and was put into an induced coma after being airlifted to University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City but never regained consciousness.

Medical costs are not expected to be nearly as high as the initial estimate by her agent of $550,000.

"The Burke family has not yet received a hospital bill from the University of Utah," the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association said in a clarification Friday afternoon.

"Based on early estimates, total charges for Sarah's care are expected to be approximately $200,000. Once charges are finalized, the university will work with Health Canada to determine what type of coverage may be available and what their contribution will be, as Sarah is a Canadian citizen."

As of Friday afternoon, the two sites had raised about $170,000.

The family is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support honouring Sarah and the generous contributions that have been made, the ski association said in a statement. "Because of the donations ... Sarah's family will not have any financial burden related to her care."

Any contributions beyond the medical costs will be used to establish a foundation to in Sarah's name.

To donate, visit giveforward.com/sarahburke or wepay.com/donations/sarah-burke.

"Sarah passed away peacefully surrounded by those she loved," Burke's publicist, Nicole Wool, said in a statement. "While early reports in the media stated that Sarah's injury was a traumatic brain injury, it is important to note that Sarah's condition was the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain during cardiac arrest (immediately after the crash)."

Burke, a four-time Winter X Games gold medallist, was considered one of the favourites to win in Sochi, Russia in 2014 where the event would make its Olympic debut. She played a pivotal role in campaigning for the inclusion of freestyle skiing in the Olympics.

Burke might have been the best female halfpipe skier in the world, an icon among those who follow a sport that is well out of the mainstream. She never failed to step on the podium at a World Cup meet during her career.


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