January 21, 2012
Donations to exceed Burke's medical costs
By Damien Wood, QMI AGENCY
Donations continue pouring in to help out the family of fallen freestyle skier Sarah Burke — so much that it looks like lingering medical costs may be covered.
The last 24 hours of generosity looks to have closed a $200,000 gap, said Burke’s publicist, Nicole Wool.
It was originally believed the hospital bills would be $550,000.
“We just received the numbers from the hospital today” said Wool.
“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.
“Because of the donations in the last day, it is now clear that Sarah’s family will not have any financial burden related to her care.”
Wool said any donations above and beyond will go towards establishing a foundation “to honour Sarah’s legacy and promote the ideals she valued and embodied.”
The medical costs were incurred while Burke was undergoing surgery and treatment at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Burke died Thursday after being critically injured in a Jan. 10 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 hospital. She never regained consciousness.
Organized by Burke’s business manager, Michael Spencer, an online fundraising page at GiveForward reads “Sarah did so much for females and winter sports during her time with us; now we are asking for your help.”
“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.”
Wool said Burke’s family and Spencer expressed gratitude over the support.
Due to the volume of people chipping in to meet the $550,000 asked for, GiveForward diverted traffic to a partner website to keep up.
A notice was posted on the second website, WePay, Friday.
“GiveForward’s site has seen unprecedented traffic due to the fundraiser in honor of Sarah Burke,” said Friday’s notice.
“We have diverted some traffic to this partner site to allow friends, family and fans to continue to send their support.”
By late afternoon Friday, the main GiveForward page raised $185,737, while the secondary WePay page raised $44,490, with donations still coming in for both.