Two months old Talia Rosko was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a rare and terminal liver disease. George and Farra, Talia's parents were told by doctors in Jackson, New Jersey, that until she receives a transplant, Talia might not live to see her second birthday.
Seven months after the terrible news in the midst of their desperate fight for finding a donor they hired Kiersten Miles then 21, a local college student as a nanny for their three children.
It was within three weeks of caring for the children that Kiersten told them that she wants to see whether she's a potential match for Talia. Indeed she was.
This month the doctors completed the liver transplant successfully. Kiersten, still under recovery, has put all her energy in raising awareness for the need for more organ donors.
"We bought [Talia] to her two-month check-up, and our pediatrician right away said her eyes were off. She said we have to go see a specialist immediately", George said in an interview.
After an ultrasound and biopsy, George and Farra were told about the diagnosis of biliary atresia. When liver's ducts get blocked with bile, this rare terminal disease occurs destroying the cells and the liver itself. The ultrasound showed that Talia's liver was annihilated.
The doctors said that Talia would need to undergo a surgical procedure – Kasai. They would remove the backed-up ducts and gallbladder, and it would be replaced with a small part of the small intestine. The procedure was just a temporary relief, but ultimately a transplant was the only option.
It was in June when Talia went on the transplant list, and around the same time, Kiersten was hired as a summer nanny for the three Roskos children. Talia was just nine-months-old when Kiersten started taking care of her and became quickly attached to her. She had known the Roskos only for three weeks when she decided to get tested as a potential donor.
Farra told Kiersten, "This is not like donating blood, this is serious. You need to talk to your parents, and you need to like do research". Kiersten was like "I already did. I'm compatible."
The testing and paperwork went on for six months, and on January 11 Kiersten was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from where her donated organ was taken to be placed in Talia at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that was right across the street. The operation took a total of 14 long hours and was successful.
Kiersten was told by the doctors that she would never be able to donate again. In future, if she had her child in a similar situation then too it would be impossible. But it didn't matter to Kiersten.
"It's such a small sacrifice when you compare it to saving a life. Some of her doctors said she possibly wouldn't have made it past two years old. All I had to do was be in the hospital for a week and a five-inch scar. I don't know it just seemed like such a small sacrifice to me," said Kiersten to Fox News.
The first two days of recovery were her worst, but she's feeling better now. Kiersten sincerely hopes for more and more people to come forward and be an organ donor. New Jersey, her home state ranks 44 out of 50 states when it comes to residents registered as organ donors.
The average hospital stay is 14 days, but she was discharged just after nine days. "She bounced back very quickly", said Talia's parents.
Kiersten is optimistic about it and adds, "Yeah it's a few months of recovery, but it's definitely worth it."
Kiersten and the Roskos hope to spread awareness about organ donation and sincerely hope that their story will inspire others to become organ donors.