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UGA student who suffered medical emergency was found with brain tumor near brain stem

Burke underwent a successful biopsy Thursday and her pathology team is continuing to work to find out more information, her mom posted in the online fundraiser.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Editor's Note: The story previously said that Liza Burke only suffered from a brain tumor and has been altered to clarify that it is a cause of the hemorrhage.

A University of Georgia senior who suffered a medical emergency while on spring break in Mexico was initially only suspected by doctors to have endured a brain hemorrhage.

But that wasn't the whole story. On Friday, Liza Burke's family shared an update on her condition via an online fundraiser page, saying that a team of doctors discovered a brain tumor near her brain stem and said that's what caused the bleeding in her brain. It was not arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Burke underwent a successful biopsy Thursday, and her pathology team is continuing to work to find out more information, her mom posted in the online fundraiser.

Burke's mom said doctors explained the tumor was likely "dormant for many years" before it turned aggressive in a quick moment. Burke's radiologist pushed her radiotherapy mask through Friday, something patients receiving radiation to the head or neck need for stability.

Burke woke up on March 10 in Cabo San Lucas with a headache and returned 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 initially diagnosed with AVM, which doctors at first believed caused her brain to hemorrhage.

On March 13, she was on life support, and on March 14, she safely traveled with a pacemaker to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for further treatment.

Since the news of Burke gained nationwide attention, donations have been pouring into her fundraiser, with people contributing more than $142,900.

Her mom stated they wouldn't have a full pathology report for a week but that Burke would start radiation on Monday if all goes to plan and will get 30 sessions daily on Monday through Friday over the next five to six weeks.

She is currently breathing independently, but her mom said doctors are reluctant to remove the ventilator until she can respond to the doctor's commands through either a toe wiggle or hand squeeze.

"She's the leader in this fight but we are her warriors marching into battle with her," her mom said.

Those who feel compelled to donate to her online fundraiser can do so here.

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