UGA student battling brain tumor, family and friends rallying with support behind her

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The UGA community is rallying for one of their own, 21-year-old Liza Burke, who suffered a brain bleed while on spring break in Mexico.

Since returning to the United States, she’s been getting treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

Her family received the news that she has an aggressive tumor on her brain stem.

“As they started to try to figure out what was going on – she became less and less responsive,” Laura McKeithen told Channel 2 Action News.

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McKeithen said it’s been an uphill battle since the very beginning.

“They know she has a tumor, it’s called a grade 4 Glioma. It’s right on her brain stem. Your brain stem is where everything happens and as a result, that’s why she is not waking up,” she explained.

Doctor Jayne Morgan with Piedmont Healthcare is not treating Burke but explained to Channel 2 Action News why doctors cannot operate on this type of tumor.

“It can be very, very difficult to operate on the brain stem. A lot of areas of motor function are housed there and so it can be a very delicate area to maneuver especially from a neurologic perspective,” Dr. Morgan said.


Burke’s mother told Channel 2 Action News Liza has not spoken since she returned to the United States but she has definitely been able to communicate.

So far, Liza has had eight rounds of radiation and has at least another week to go.

Her family is taking it one day at a time.

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