Meet Tassy

This is Tassy Filsaime.  A 19 year-old Haitian earthquake  survivor who is, in the midst of the horror of crushed homes, lives, and unimaginable poverty, trying to survive cancer. Why does he matter? Because it is a lesson that one life always matters. The young man who is bringing him to our attention here in Pittsburgh and beyond , knows this, and is asking us to believe it with him.

So meet Ian Rosenberger. He is a former  “Survivor”  contestant, but he doesn’t really want to talk about that. The surviving he is focusing on are the people of Haiti, whom he decided he had to touch personally, by going there. How many of us think of it, but decide to send the money, and let someone else do it. Ian is the someone else, and what he needs is simple, and actually easy for those of us who need a face for the cause.

Ian met Tassy at a church he was visiting. Tassy was a voice in the church choir, and did he have a voice, according to Ian. Ian learned that the deformity on Tassy’s face was actually a cancerous tumor that is growing at a rapid rate. A rate that will kill him, if it is not removed. It was on Ian’s second trip to Haiti that Tassy approached Ian and asked for help. “Can you help me?” Ian’s response was , ” I don’t know, I hope so.”

But for Ian, hope means taking action. Back in Pittsburgh he called a lot of doctors, and as luck, or  God, would have it, a surgeon who had also donated time to Haiti, whom Ian knew, was a maxofacial surgeon at Allegheny General. The operation costs a half million dollars, but Dr. Jeb Blaugrund, and others have knocked down the price to 30 thousand. 30 thousand to save a life.

Ian is headed back to Haiti on August 19, to tell Tassy that the operation is a go, that he will come here to Pittsburgh. But there is still work to be done, and Ian has made it a party. On August 26th, at the Priory’s Grand Hall on the North Side, you can help Tassy with a celebration of Haitian art, music,and life, by attending A Night for Tassy.  For information check out our story that aired last week on our website:

I hope to see you there.


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