In just three years, Kyleigh ‘Milana’ Kista has already undergone three open-heart surgeries; now, she needs an innovative surgery from the USA to survive.


Benoni, South Africa (07 January 2022) – 3-year-old Kyleigh ‘Milana’ Kista was diagnosed with a Complex Congenital Heart Defect at birth and needs urgent, life-saving treatment, which can be done in the United States. South Africans have rallied and, together, raised over R2-million to help towards the cost of her life-saving surgery.

Kyleigh’s condition, known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia, VSD and Mapca, was first described by Cardio-Thoracic surgeons as a ‘monster in her chest.’

“Kyleigh does not have the valve that connects the heart to the lungs, the arteries that are meant to be attached to this value is free-floating and underdeveloped and not connected to her heart. She has a large hole in heart and survives on 2 collateral arteries of which one has already started to narrow severely. This all puts a lot of strain on her little body.“ says Serina Kista, Kyleigh’s mom.

Three Heart Surgeries

Kyleigh has already endured three open-heart surgeries along with countless non-invasive procedures that have done little to remedy her little heart. The family received news from her medical team that they now had very limited options.

The first option – wait for Kyleigh’s heart and lungs to start failing, which would then qualify her for a heart and lung transplant. The catch with this option is that organ donors are very limited, and this kind of surgery has never been done on a paediatric patient. The risks are very high.

“Kyleigh would need to be condemned to significant suffering and damage to her heart and lungs before being admitted into ICU in a critical condition to be placed on a donor list and fight for her life with no guarantee of finding a donor in time “, says Kyleigh’s mother Serina.

The second, more viable but very costly option is to get Kyleigh to the Boston Children’s Hospital in the USA, where doctors can perform an innovative surgery that could save her. The family reached out to the hospital and found the good news they were searching for.

“They proposed an innovative technique to repair her heart, which they currently perform with great success at the hospital. They will use Kyleigh’s current anatomy and reconstruct her blood vessels in order to flow effectively through her lungs while also incorporating her collateral arteries as part of this procedure,” says Serina.

Getting Kyleigh to America

Understanding the urgency of the procedure, the hospital kindly offered a reduced rate for the operation, which is still an astronomical amount for the family without power or influence. To fund the operation in the USA, estimated at R5 000 000 ($295,761), the family has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, to appeal to the public to support their final and only hope to save their little one.

“Boston Children’s Hospital has given us new hope and we are holding on to this option with all that is in us. Without it, our little girl will never get the chance to grow up and have a normal, happy, healthy life.” – says Serina.

With overwhelming support from over 1600 donors both locally and internationally, over R2.3 million has already been raised on BackaBuddy, which will be transferred directly to the medical facility in Boston.

“We received overwhelming support from family, friends, colleagues and the community. Thank you for the heartfelt contributions, prayers and faith that Kyleigh will not only obtain the money for the procedure but will succeed through the procedure, bringing us to tears. We felt hopeless and alone but today we have so many people coming to Kyleigh’s rescue to help us give a future, an opportunity at life” says Kyleigh’s mother, Serina.

Time is of the essence; once funds are raised, they will be paid to the Boston Children’s Hospital. The hospital will then issue a letter of motivation so the family can apply for a medical visa which will allow them entry into the USA for the surgery and following recovery time.

Every day new people join the cause. Kyleigh has a mere three months to get this surgery, and time is already running away. You can support this cause via BackaBuddy here.

Sources: BackaBuddy – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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