Getting the devastating news that your child is suffering from a life-threatening illness is every parent’s worst nightmare. And sadly, it’s one that George and Farra Rosko of Jackson, New Jersey, was living in since early 2016.
Their 16-month-old daughter Taliq was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a condition which causes the liver’s ducts to become backed up with bile, destroying cells and the liver itself. It is a serious disease that could be fatal without a liver transplant.
While according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, waiting lists for organ donations can take months or even years for many patients, the Roskos soon discovered their “angel” among them.
Despite knowing the family for just three weeks, the Roskos’ 22-year-old nanny immediately offered to donate part of her own liver to Talia. The college student from New Jersey, Kiersten Miles, met the family after she was recommended as a summer babysitter for their three children and immediately had a bond with them.
Farra was shocked. She said that Miles barely knew the family and that she “thought it was wonderful that she offered, but I didn’t really think it would go through.” After all, she said, “it’s not something that people do every day.” Farra added: “I’m like: ‘Kiersten, this is a serious surgery. You have to talk to your parents. It’s not like donating blood.”
However, Miles told her that she had already discussed the donation with her mother and they had agreed it was the right thing.
“I believe I was meant to meet the Roskos. Even though I had only known Talia for three weeks when I decided I wanted to see if I was a match, I knew I couldn’t do anything. I knew I was a blood match and after doing research the rest of the process and the surgery didn’t seem that intense … it just seemed and still seems like such a small sacrifice compared to saving a life.”
After six months of tests, Miles was operated on at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Part of her liver was removed and then transported to Talia who was operated on at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Both operations were successful and both Talia and Miles are said to be recovering well.
Meanwhile, Miles will never be able to donate again even if she decides to have children of her own in the future and they require a similar organ donation. Nonetheless, she had no regrets about her decision. The Roskos family is now doing well and Miles says she hopes their story will inspire others to donate, too.