JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A University of Georgia senior who suffered a brain hemorrhage while on spring break in Mexico is back in the country.
Liza Burke and her parents arrived in Jacksonville early Tuesday morning following several delays and an overnight trip from San Diego. Her mother, Laura McKeithen, said an ambulance was awaiting their arrival and took Burke straight to the Mayo Clinic, where a medical team is hopeful for her recovery.
"They were planning on taking her for an MRI, perhaps some other tests, maybe an echocardiogram," she said. "They said it would be a pretty good time before we really have a sense of what's going on."
McKeithen has been on edge since she first learned her 22-year-old daughter was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which caused the bleeding in her brain. The abnormality is found in one in every 100,000 people, Burke's mother said, adding that it can hemorrhage without warning.
Burke woke up last Friday 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.
Doctors told McKeithen that the stroke happened in the middle of her brain, not at the base, which could make a difference in Burke's recovery.
"So in terms of places for it to bleed, it's not the best but it's not the worst thing," McKeithen explained. "I'm just glad to be at a competent hospital that has all the equipment that they need and the experience to take care of her."
Since the news of Burke gained nationwide attention, donations have been pouring into her fundraiser with people contributing more than $135,400.
"We are just so appreciative of the donations," McKeithen said. "Needless to say it covered the costs of the flights. We had to pay $45,000 to $46,000 just to be treated at the hospital in Mexico."
McKeithen said the donations have lightened the load as they course through this uncertainty in her daughter's case. More importantly, she says she needs people to match her hope for a bright road to recovery for her daughter.
"We need people to just keep praying," she said. "So far, all that energy that is out there in the universe seems to be working for her so I would say keep doing whatever people are doing."
As the kindness pours in and Burke undergoes more tests, McKeithen says she can be patient -- because ultimately, needing patience is the best situation she could be in.
"However long it takes," McKiethen said, "as long as she is on the mend."