Most of the time when something bad happens to someone else, unless it’s a family member or friend, it’s not that big a deal to us. We may feel bad when we think about it but it’s usually not that hard to move on from emotionally.
But if that someone else is an innocent, completely undeserving of a rough turn in life, it hits us a little bit differently, with more of an impact. And there is no one more innocent than a newborn baby. One young woman found out about a baby in need and she couldn’t let it go by without doing something…
George and Farra were the proud parents of a baby named Talia. She was their third child, after 7-year-old Mattea and 5-year-old Trey. Their youngest was an adorable little girl with big eyes and even bigger cheeks. Her parents couldn’t have been happier about the newest addition to their family.
But just a few weeks after she was born, Talia’s pediatrician noticed that her eyes “were off” during a routine check up. Choosing to err on the side of caution, the doctor sent her to a specialist for further testing and a liver biopsy…
Unfortunately, the pediatrician’s suspicions proved to be correct. It turned out that Talia had a rare condition called “biliary atresia.” Affecting just 1 out of every 18,000 infants, it is “a life-threatening condition in infants in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings.”
A temporary fix for the infant’s condition was a Kasai procedure, in which part of her small intestine would be used to replace the ducts, allowing the liver to drain into the intestine and preventing a back up of fluids that would permanently damage Talia’s liver…
She Needs A Transplant
But the Kasai was just a temporary procedure and according to some doctors the only cure for Talia’s condition would be a liver transplant. Unfortunately, neither George nor Farra were a match. The only thing they could do was put their daughter on the liver transplant waiting list and hope that a suitable donor would be found quickly.
Don’t Give Up
As the weeks turned to months and a donor wasn’t found, the 2 parents did their best to never give up hope and to make the most of the time they had with Talia. Then, when she was about 9 months old, someone special came into the sick baby’s life…
Connected By A Friend
George and Farra Rosko needed a babysitter and the person they ended up hiring was a 22-year-old college student named Kiersten Miles. “My good friend had known the family for a long time and recommended me to them for a summer nanny position,” Kiersten said. “I knew going into it that Talia had biliary atresia, because my friend told me a little bit of that background.”
“About 2 to 3 weeks into watching Talia I became curious about the whole idea of a liver transplant,” said Kiersten. “Before meeting the family I never knew you could donate part of your liver.” The young woman already gave of herself to help others regularly, donating blood at every opportunity…
I Want To Help
“After doing research,” Kiersten said, “I found out that I could potentially donate an organ to anyone due to my blood type.” After some consideration, she decided to tell the Roskos that she wanted to donate part of her liver to save Talia.
“I was nervous for some reason,” Kiersten said. “I’m not sure why.” It was uncharted territory for her and for the Roskos as well. “I was very taken aback,” said Farra. “I didn’t know that she was this selfless.”…
Can We Accept?
Blindsided as they were by Kiersten’s offer, the Roskos weren’t sure if they could accept such a sacrifice from her. “We were never ‘looking’ for an organ donor, and we would never ask anyone if they wanted to donate, especially someone we didn’t know that well, said Farra.
Talk To Your Family
“I wanted to be sure she knew this wasn’t like giving blood,” Farra said. “It was a serious surgery and she had to speak to her family about this.” Thankfully, Kiersten’s mother thought that her daughter’s generosity was a beautiful thing…
“I talked to my mom after doing the research and then went forward to talking to Farra,” said Kiersten. “My mom has been supportive through this whole process. She keeps saying how proud of me she is and tells people she wasn’t really surprised I wanted to do this.”
For Kiersten, what she would be giving up seemed like a very small price to pay to save Talia. “I just had to go through some blood tests, imaging, and talking to a few doctors and then spent less than a week in the hospital. It just seemed and still seems like such a small sacrifice compared to saving a life.”…
But there was one aspect of the donation that gave Kiersten momentary pause. “At one point,” she said, “I found out I would never be able to donate again if I did this. I really had to process that.” In the end, she decided to move forward hoping that if her future children needed the same procedure, someone else would answer the call..
After the necessary preparations were made, baby and babysitter underwent a 14 hour procedure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. Everything went according to plan and both Talia and Kiersten came out without complications…
Talia’s parents were overjoyed. “She has turned a hopeless situation into a hopeful situation,” said Farra. “Without Kiersten we would be sitting waiting for a deceased donor to come and save Talia. We would be watching our baby deteriorate.” It was impossible to fully express their gratitude. “She really is an angel on earth,” Farra added. “I know that sounds silly, but she really is.”
After the summer ended, Kiersten no longer babysat Talia but she knows that they will always share a special bond. Both literally and figuratively, she will always be a part of Talia’s life, which shouldn’t end before her second birthday and instead be as long as anyone else’s…
“I definitely think it’s important to spread awareness about living organ donation and organ donation in general,” Kiersten said. “I don’t think many people know you can donate a part of your liver. Most hear only about donating a kidney.”
The young woman said that she had no regrets about helping save Talia’s life. “After going through the entire process from start to finish, I would 100% do it again. I think it’s very important people know exactly what they are volunteering to do and what the recovery is like but it’s such a small price to pay in comparison to saving a life.”