Woman's World

Kiersten is not just Talia’s nanny—she’s her lifesaver!

Farra Rosko knew her baby girl’s nanny cared deeply about her Talia. But she never imagined the sacrifice Kiersten Miles would make to save her daughter’s life . . .

- —Kristin Higson-hughes

Standing in the pediatrici­an’s office, Farra Rosko smiled down at her daughter. It was supposed to be Talia’s two-month well-baby checkup. But as the doctor examined her, he frowned.

“Her skin’s yellow. And her eyes are . . . off. I’m afraid there might be something wrong with her liver.”

And now, as Talia underwent an ultrasound, the Jackson, New Jersey, mom felt paralyzed.

What’s going to happen to our baby girl? she worried.

Searching for a miracle All

signs point to biliary atresia, a rare, life-threatenin­g condition where the liver ducts are blocked,” a specialist explained to Farra and her husband, George.

Talia would need a biopsy, and surgery to replace her blocked bile ducts with a segment of her small intestine.

In recovery, Talia looked so tiny, lost in a labyrinth of wires.

“Let’s take it one day at a time,” surgeons said. They now knew for sure: Talia had biliary atresia. For some with Talia’s condition, the surgery was only a temporary Band-aid. For others, it proved to be a cure.

So they took Talia home. Ever happy, she grinned as her big sister, Tea, and brother, Trey, tickled her. But within just a few weeks, her skin was turning yellow again; her little belly round. Now came the devastatin­g news: Talia needed a transplant.

“One of us will do it!” Farra and George offered. But both were ruled out due to health issues.

By eight months, Talia was put on the transplant list. Every night, Farra lit a candle and prayed: Please send Talia a miracle!

Still, Farra and George tried to keep life normal. They had Tea and Trey to think about, too. And realizing she would need to take the time off when Talia got her transplant, Farra had to go back to work.

She began the search for a sitter. But how can I leave Talia with somebody else? she worried. Yet the moment 21-year-old Kiersten Miles—a Towson University senior majoring in special education—arrived for her interview, Farra just knew.

Tea and Trey would be at camp much of the day, so Kiersten would mostly just have Talia. Explaining her condition, Farra told Kiersten she would have to feed Talia often, things like vitamin-fortified yogurt to help her gain weight for the transplant they hoped would happen soon.

“Of course,” Kiersten nodded in understand­ing. And the moment Kiersten arrived each morning, Talia lit up.

“She’s like the baby whisperer!” Farra marveled to George.

A brandnew life! Every

day, Kiersten fell more in love with Talia. How is she always smiling when she’s so sick inside? she wondered in awe.

Often, thinking about what could happen to Talia, Kiersten’s heart broke. And suddenly, it struck her: I’m young. I’m healthy. And I have type O blood, the universal donor.

That night, Kiersten brought up her idea to her mom.

“You’ve always been a giving girl. If this is important to you, you have my support,” she said encouragin­gly. So the next day, Kiersten told the Roskos, “I’ve been researchin­g Talia’s condition. Maybe I can help.”

Floored, Farra’s eyes grew wide. Kiersten had only known them three weeks!

“You are so wonderful! But this—it’s a big thing,” she blurted.

“I know. It just doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice if I can help save Talia’s life,” Kiersten insisted.

Tears in their eyes, Farra and George wrapped their arms around Kiersten. “Thank you!”

Amazingly, Kiersten proved to be a perfect match. And on a winter day, transplant surgeons at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvan­ia removed a portion of her liver, then rushed it next door to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelph­ia and implanted it inside 16-month-old Talia.

When Talia awoke, she was no longer yellow. “Mama!” she murmured, and Farra knew: They’d received their miracle.

“You’re our angel on Earth!” Farra told Kiersten.

Soon, Kiersten could go visit her little charge. And when Talia flashed a smile, “it just made everything worth it,” she recalls.

In just nine days, both Talia and Kiersten were back home, healing. And today, whenever Kiersten visits, she shows Talia, “Look! We have matching scars!”

Now 17 months old, Talia is a healthy little girl.

“Kiersten is proof that prayer works, angels exist and miracles happen!” Farra says. Yet Kiersten remains humble. “This experience changed my life for the better. Talia and I were definitely meant to be. I just love that little girl!”

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