In death, pro skier Sarah Burke gives life through organ donation

Sarah Burke
Sarah Burke died in 2012 after sustaining fatal injuries during a superpipe training run. Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
In 2012, the skiing world was shocked and saddened by the sudden tragic death of freeskier Sarah Burke following an accident while training for a superpipe competition in Park City, Utah. But, as recently detailed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Burke’s legacy continues to live on today through organ donation.

Per the CBC report, the Canadian freeskier who was instrumental in getting her sport into the Olympics was careful prior to her death to register as an organ donor. Given that she was a world-class athlete, doctors say nearly all of her organs were able to be used by others.

RELATED: Sarah Burke remembered by freeskiers in Sochi

“I was told at one point that someone had received her heart and lungs and that every single part that could be used was used,” Burke’s mother, Jan Phelan, told the CBC. “I think it’s wonderful that she somehow foresaw another way she could be helping people — giving the gift of life. I’m very proud of her for that.”

The news of Burke’s organ donation came out as the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia launched a three-month pilot program Tuesday aimed at getting more people to register as organ donors.

“I was just proud of Sarah because she had thought about this ahead of time,” Phelan told the CBC. “She relieved the burden of that decision from her family. And I was very happy to be able to have carried it out.”

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Burke’s decision to become an organ donor was how her family found out about it. According to Phelan, the family had to search exhaustively for Burke’s organ-donor card following her death. When her husband found it, they discovered that Burke had left an enduring message on the card.

“She had written on the side of it, ‘Take it all!'” said Phelan.

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