A 22-year-old babysitter became the answer to a family's prayer when she decided to donate part of her liver to the baby she was taking care of.
Kiersten Miles had been babysitting for the family for three weeks when she discovered that the youngest child, baby Talia Rosko, suffered from biliary atresia, a life-threatening condition that traps bile in the liver and damages it.
According to Talia's mom, Farra, doctors informed her that Talia's central bile duct was "obliterated," causing the buildup of bile in her liver. They said that because of the condition, it was very likely that Talia would not survive beyond her second birthday, Fox affiliate WTXF reported.
Farra said Talia was already placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant, but she knew it could take a long time to find her baby a donor.
Talia was only 9 months old when Miles first saw her. Her skin was yellow and the whites of her eyes were gray. Touched by the baby's condition, Miles began to consider donating part of her liver.
She said looking at little Talia, who could not even speak out and ask for help, made the decision easier for her.
"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 told The Washington Post.
After talking to her mother about her plan, Miles told Farra about her decision and said she would be willing to start the process to see if she was a match for Talia. The announcement surprised Farra.
"I was very taken aback," Farra said, according to The Post. "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."
However, she cautioned Miles about the process, reminding her that living organ donation is "not like donating blood."
Doctors also informed Miles about the possible consequences of what she was about to do. They told her she could never donate again. Miles said that if, in the future, a family member or even one of her own future children needed a liver transplant, she could no longer donate even if she were a perfect match, because "you can donate only once."
Miles was willing to overlook all these.
After going through all the tests and necessary preparations, Miles and Talia went through the procedure on Jan. 11. Talia was 16 months old by then.
Doctors removed part of Miles' liver at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and brought it to Talia at the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania. The entire procedure lasted 14 hours.
When Miles woke up, she wondered if the procedure went well and if Talia's body accepted her liver. She asked one of the surgeons if she could see the baby and was told she could visit in a few days.
When she was eventually allowed to see Talia, the moment was simply "magical."
"When I saw Kiersten come in, my heart skipped a beat," Farra said. "Even the doctors and the nurses were saying, 'Is this your live donor? Oh, my God, tell me the story.' Everybody was just so taken aback by her generosity."
When baby Talia smiled at Miles, she knew her small sacrifice was worth it. Farra said she didn't know what would have happened to her baby if they hadn't met Miles at just the right time.
"I think people need to know that prayer does work, angels do exist and miracles happen every day," Farra said.
Farra is now helping Miles, who is studying special education, to raise funds to cover her student debt. On a post to her Facebook account, Farra asked people to help Miles with her college tuition by donating monetarily through a YouCaring account set up for her by the Wall Township community in New Jersey.