Hail the great Vargasino tribe

Hot Flashes



If you want to know who’s sexting, tweeting insults, stashing opioids, schmoozing with the Russkis or who makes the world’s best pumpkin bread, just tune in to the “news.”

If you want to learn about love, get to know the Vargas family.

Because this tribe of intrepid Vargasinos travels to every corner of the globe to adore and to rally around their little Rosie, a remarkable dumpling of femininity and endless joy . . . who faces more obstacles than a NASA engineer without his slide rule.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Behind every exquisite scene, there is something tragic.”

In Rosie’s life, it’s a damned lousy disease that rains on her childhood parade. This little angel was born in December 2013 with MSUD, a rare, inherited metabolic disorder that prevents the body’s ability to break down certain amino acids.

The odds of this diagnosis are 1 in 200,000 and the disorder presented Rosie with a lifelong battle, which the remarkable Vargas family roundly embraced.

“My little Rosie cheeks is so brave,” says adoring godmother, Aunt Jackie, whose dedication to her niece/godchild falls into the Mother Teresa category.

Raising the bar for anyone who would ever consider auditioning for duty as godmother, Jackie rocks the role of totally cool, badass Godmama.

The self-proclaimed “Queen of the Happy Hour” takes her mission to spread laughter—in multiple ways—seriously.

So, with Miss Badass Godmama by her side, Rosie endured her first liver transplant at the tender age of 11 months. That’s right, the first didn’t take so she’s in line for her second.


In the meantime, her parents, Sarah and Tony Vargas, decided to move to Pennsylvania where their daughter could be treated by specialists in MSUD at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Awaiting a second transplant and undaunted by the setback, the intrepid Vargasinos sought to embrace little Rosie’s dream for Halloween this year. A lover of the “Beauty and the Beast” story, little Rosita longed to dress as Belle for her big October celebration. Of course, the entire family got in the groove, led by totally cool badass Godmama Jackie, who dressed as Featherduster.

Ever tried to dress as a feather duster?

Ya gotta love this gang. They traveled all the way to Pennsylvania from our Conejo Valley with serious costumes in hand on a mission to make a memorable Halloween for little Rosie.

Grandfather chimed in as the Clock, Mama Sarah doubled as the Teapot, Uncle Jose looked cool as Gaston, Daddy-O Tony channeled the Beast, and dear friend Alma lit up the joint as la Lumière. Even the dog, Arnie, didn’t miss the party.

If you want to learn more, Rosie’s Journey on Facebook will keep you up to date on her progress, the challenges she faces with grace in her daily life and, of course, how she is surrounded by a band of devoted Vargasinos.

Her website for donations is cotaforrosiev.com, and as you can imagine, her family advocates becoming an organ donor at registerme.org.

You can send prayers, hope, donations or, like the Vargas family, just send love. Be our guest.

Elizabeth Kirby has been a resident of Thousand Oaks since 1983. Reach her at kirby@theacorn.com or kirby.hanson@verizon.net. To read all her columns, check out her Facebook page.