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LITTLETON, Colo. — A cancer survivor who had his prized snowboard stolen while teaching the sport to other survivors was surprised with a new custom board Monday after his family reached out to Contact7.
Michael Burek was diagnosed in 2013 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While recovering, he went on a rafting trip courtesy of the Denver-based non-profit First Descents. The group provides outdoor adventures to young adults impacted by cancer.
"I got so much out of that,” Burek said. "It just helped me so much in my cancer journey that from that moment on I just wanted to kind of give back.”
Saturday, he brought his custom snowboard to the Loveland ski area to teach snowboarding to fellow survivors. The group went inside to take a picture. When he came back to the slopes, his board was gone.
"There was a short realization that the day was about to get real interesting," he said. "I thought for sure it was gone."
Burek's family got in touch with Contact 7. We contacted Denver-based Never Summer Snowboards, who made the new board Burek. Chairman Vince Sanders was happy to help out.
"It's just unfortunate. Somebody is doing good things and helping these kids learn to snowboard, and has his own board taken,” Sanders said. “We wanted to get him back in the snow as soon as possible.”
Sanders agreed to give Burek an exact replica of his old board. At the same time, Loveland donated free bindings and four passes to the mountain.
"We just felt like he's helping the community out,” said Dustin Shaeffer, Loveland communication manager. “We felt like we needed to step up and help Michael out."
Burek says he's looking forward to hitting the slopes again. He's humble and grateful to the people who made it possible.