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UGA student on life support after brain hemorrhage while on spring break in Mexico

The 22-year-old is on life support and her family is trying to get her back to the United States.

ATHENS, Ga. — It was a normal day for a University of Georgia senior as she and her friends were spending their final spring break in Cabo San Lucas. Until Friday morning, when she started to get a headache.

Friends of Liza Burke said she went back to her hotel room after complaining about the pain during breakfast. When her friends couldn't wake her up, they called for help.  

The 22-year-old was immediately rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which caused her brain to hemorrhage, her parents said from the hospital in Mexico.

As of Monday she was on life support and her parents were trying to get her back to the United States where she'll go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. 

In order to successfully travel, doctors must put in a temporary pacemaker.  

"The doctors there know it's in her best interest to get to the U.S. and are working with us to get her there safely," her mom Laura McKeithen said.

On Tuesday, Burke and her parents arrived in Jacksonville. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, AVM is a tangle of blood vessels that irregularly connects arteries and veins, disrupting blood flow and oxygen circulation.

"I started talking to her and asked her to squeeze my hand she squeezed my hand. The intensive care unit pretty much lit up. At that point everyone was very happy,"  McKeithen said. 

In 2008, Burke lost her sister to a rare genetic disorder, and her mom said this was her "worst fear because I've had it happen before."

More than 1,900 people have already donated more than $125,000 to an online fundraiser as of Tuesday.

"So many people have reached out wanting to help which is a testament to how many people Liza has touched," the organizer, Jennifer Ritter, wrote on the page. "She is genuine, dynamic, playful and fierce. She has so much left to give to the world."

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