UGA student who suffered brain bleed on spring break in Mexico diagnosed with brain tumor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A University of Georgia senior who suffered a brain bleed while on spring break in Mexico has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to her mother.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Liza Burke was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas when she got a sudden headache and went to lie down. Her friends later found her unresponsive and rushed her to the hospital, where she had emergency surgery.

Doctors initially diagnosed Burke with an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), which is a cluster of irregular blood vessels.


The community raised enough money to have Burke flown via medical transport back to the United States. Since then, she’s been at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, where her mother lives.

Burke’s mother, Laura McKeithen, announced on a GoFundMe last week that rather than an AVM, doctors have determined that Burke has a brain tumor near her brain stem. It’s unclear if the tumor is cancerous.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“We had a successful biopsy yesterday and the pathology team is working to determine exactly what we are dealing with,” McKeithen wrote.

McKeithen said the tumor was likely dormant for many years before it became aggressive in a short time. Burke started radiation on Monday and will continue to do radiation for the next five to six weeks.

Burke is still on a ventilator but responsive to commands.

“Please pray for her responsiveness and her fighting spirit,” McKeithen wrote. She’s the leader in this fight but we are her warriors marching into battle with her.”