Sarah Burke's family off the hook for medical bills:$300,000 raised 

Sponsor Monster Energy responds

click to enlarge sarah_burke_roxy.jpg

In it's first statement since the death of its sponsored athlete, freeskier Sarah Burke, Monster Energy said it has supported her family all along.

"As soon as we learned about the accident, we offered uninterrupted support to Sarah and her family," states a release on the company website.

"Without hesitation we will continue to support Sarah's family, (and) are working directly with them to assess their needs and are committed to helping them financially.

"Sarah epitomizes the essence and spirit of why we do what we do."

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) issued a statement on behalf of Burke's publicist Friday to clarify misinformation regarding Sarah Burke's medical bills.

It has been widely reported that Burke's husband Rory Bushfield and her parents Jan and Gordon were on the hook for about $550,000 in medical bills. According to the release the family has not received a bill at this time, and the cost is more likely in the range of $200,000.

Further, because of donations, which are now at $300,000, it appears that the family won't be on the hook for any of those costs. According to a release, "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. Further contributions will be used to establish a foundation to honour Sarah's legacy and promote the ideas she valued and embodied."

Burke, a halfpipe skier who lives in Squamish, was at Park City, Utah for a sponsor event with Monster Energy, and may not have had travel medical insurance at the time of her injury.

Following her accident during a training run she was airlifted to Salt Lake City and the University of Utah Hospital where she remained comatose and in critical condition for almost nine days. She underwent brain surgery to repair a torn artery, which caused a cardiac arrest, but never recovered. T

Peter Judge, CEO of the CSFA, said the team's athletes are only insured when they travel to events as part of the team. Because she was in Utah for a sponsor event the team's insurance did not apply.

In a release on Friday, the CFSA said that the University of Utah Hospital is working with Health Canada and others to determine if they will cover any portion of the costs. Meanwhile friends and family members of Sarah have been looking into insurance she may have held through her credit card and the B.C. Medical Services Plan.

Burke's business manager started a website to raise money to help the family, and thanked Burke's sponsors for contributing. As of Friday morning the website - www.giveforward.com/sarahburke - had raised almost $100,000. Donations can also be made at www.wepay.com/donations/sarah-burke.

Burke, 29, was injured in a halfpipe fall on Jan. 10 and passed away in hospital on Jan. 19.

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