One year ago this week, freeskiing pioneer and X Games champion Sarah Burke tragically died, at the age of 29, from injuries sustained during a halfpipe training run. Burke was a sports icon, an activist and humanitarian. During her career, she won countless medals, trophies, and championship titles but she will be best remembered for her exhuberance, generosity, and compassion for others. She was bigger than life, which makes her loss all the more difficult to comprehend.
Burke’s death affected the entire winter sports community and beyond. Now, a year later, a nonprofit has been established to establish her legacy and support the causes that were most important to the Canadian freeskier.
The Sarah Burke Foundation, which officially launched last Tuesday, will celebrate Sarah by offering grants to aspiring winter sports athletes and raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Rory Bushfield, Burke’s husband, is the president of the foundation. “Sarah had too many amazing qualities to list, but two of the most obvious ones were her love of winter sports, and her commitment to helping people in need,” Bushfield said in a release. “We are honored to be able to continue Sarah’s practice of giving through the Sarah Burke Foundation and are grateful for the tremendous support we have received.”
Much like the #celebratesarah Twitter hashtag, Burke’s agent Michael Spencer says he hopes the foundation will remind people to find joy in helping others and being impactful. “I still can’t put it into words. She’s one of those people who made the world a better place,” Spencer says. “You talk about Sarah now, and people that don’t even ski know who she was. That’s what this is about — carrying on not just the spirit of Sarah, but everything she was doing. Teaching people to be better and helping kids that needed it the most.”
Over the weekend, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter blew up with messages of support for the beloved Burke.
Sarah’s spirit will continue to be apart of our lives through each and everyone of your posts!
“She’s in every snowflake, every ray of sunshine, every breeze, more than ever, now and always, we #BelieveInSarah.”
– @TrennonPaynter (Canadian halfpipe ski coach)
One of many sites to honor Burke this week, Whistler is Awesome made a list of things people can do to honor her legacy. Among other things: live, laugh, love hard. The list, with links to examples of Burke’s lust for life, is a great tribute to the skier.
For more information on the Sarah Burke Foundation, visit sarahburkefoundation.com, and be sure to Like the Foundation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sarahburkefoundation and Follow the Foundation on Twitter at twitter.com/SarahBurkeFDN and on Instagram at instagram.com/SarahBurkeFDN