College student who suffered brain hemorrhage in Mexico able to squeeze her mom’s hand


(NEW YORK) — An American college student is making a slow recovery after suddenly suffering a brain hemorrhage while on a spring break trip in Mexico, according to her family.

Liza Burke, a senior at the University of Georgia, was vacationing with friends in Cabo San Lucas earlier this month when she complained of a headache and went to rest.

When her friends found her unresponsive, Burke was taken to a local hospital, where doctors determined she had suffered a brain hemorrhage. She underwent surgery to relieve the bleeding in her brain and remained hospitalized in Mexico for several days .

A family friend started a GoFundMe that raised over $140,000, with the money used to cover the cost of transporting Burke from the hospital where she was treated in Mexico to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Since arriving at Mayo Clinic this week, Burke has made slow progress, according to her mom Laura McKeithan, who lives in Jacksonville.

McKeithan told ABC News by email that doctors discovered a tumor on Burke’s brain stem and have been conducting tests this week to gather more information on her condition.

She is scheduled to undergo a biopsy Thursday, according to McKeithan.

She said her daughter is responsive, including being able to open her eyes and squeeze her hand.

“I feel like I’ve been in some crazy horror movie for the last week, fighting against a monster that refuses to give up,” McKeithan said in a daily update to family and friends that was shared with ABC News. “Little does that monster know, that I’ve got a secret that’s yet to be unleashed… and that is Liza herself. So here I am – WE ARE! – fighting with her, more determined than ever!”

Burke, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, is being supported by family and friends with her at Mayo Clinic, including a group of college friends whom McKeithan calls the “Athens Army,” a reference to the University of Georgia’s location in Athens.

McKeithan said the friends are there to “pump up Liza for her next battle.”

A brain tumor that puts pressure on brain tissue can contribute to bleeding in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The type of treatment for a brain tumor and potential long-lasting complications, according to the Mayo Clinic, depends on where the tumor is located and whether or not it is cancerous.

McKeithan said doctors do not yet know what kind of recovery Burke will make.

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