There is probably nothing nobler than saving someone’s life, except perhaps sacrificing one’s own life in the process, and Kiersten Miles is a person who has done exactly that. The 22-year-old Towson University student had only been hired as a nanny three weeks earlier when she decided to donate part of her liver to the toddler that was entrusted to her care.
The child, Talia Rosko, is a 17-month-old girl who was born with a rare life-threatening liver disease known as biliary atresia, which is typically characterized by the buildup of bile in the organ because its central duct has been destroyed. As a result, she had the typical symptoms of a sufferer: the yellow pallor of a jaundice patient and, according to doctors, the little girl wasn’t expected to live past her second birthday.
But, that’s because they didn’t know about Kiersten from Wall, N.J.
Just three weeks after she had been hired by the Jackson, N.J., family, she decided she would give Talia a portion of her own liver – a decision she considered “normal.” To her it would just be a matter of a few days in hospital and “a 5-inch scar.”
“Especially for a baby who can’t really ask for help, it didn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice because I’d be saving a life,” she said.
Miles had started thinking about how she could help the child ever since she started her job looking after the Roskos’ three kids. She took it upon herself to do some research of her own to learn about organ donations because, she says, she was simply “curious.” She had already figured that since her blood type was O (which is a universal donor) it would make her a good potential donor.
Soon after, she decided she was finally going ahead with donating a part of her liver to little Talia. And so, she first talked to her own mother before heading to the Roskos’ to have a conversation that she says made her feel “nervous for some reason.”
Once there, she talked to Farra, Talia’s mother, and told her she had done some research and wanted to go ahead and see if she was indeed a good match for her daughter. The first thing Farra asked Kiersten was if she had talked to her mother about the decision as this was much more serious a matter and “not like donating blood.”
“I was very taken aback. I didn’t know that she was this selfless – I’ve come to find out that this is who she is. She really is an angel on earth; I know that sounds silly, but she really is,” Farra would later say.
After months of testing it was finally decide that Kiersten was indeed a perfect match and, on January 11, doctors took a piece of her liver at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and then rushed it next door to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where Talia was waiting for her life-saving gift. The operation was a success and both made it through with “flying colors.”
Although Kiersten will never again be able to donate a part of her liver to anyone else, even if a family member should need it, she says she doesn’t mind as it “just made everything worth it.”
All Farra can say is that she doesn’t know where little Talia would be without Kiersten. She said the child would slowly be taken off of her medications over the next year, but might need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life – that, in her eyes, is a tiny price to pay.
“I think people need to know that prayer does work, angels do exist and miracles happen every day. I don’t know where we would be without Kiersten,” the grateful mom said.
A fundraising page has been set up via YouCaring to help this selfless woman pay off her student loans. Please consider donating by clicking here.
Featured image via screenshot from YouTube video