From Pittsburgh Magazine columnist Virginia Montanez (Feb. 2011) -After the earthquake in Haiti, I received an e-mail from Ian Rosenberger informing me that he had met a young man on a recent post-earthquake visit to Port au Prince, and that the young man, Tassy Filsaime, was dying from a cancerous tumor growing on his jaw, and that Ian was going to save him. He just needed to raise $50,000 to get him to Pittsburgh for surgery. As became the tagline for the Meet Tassy fundraiser that Ian eventually held, If you had the chance to save a kid's life, would you?
I think we all would want to, but I think most of us would be daunted by the magnitude of the "how."
I was struck with that magnitude on behalf of Ian—but honestly never once doubted that he would make the surgery happen. In November of 2010 after successful fundraising, Ian personally brought Tassy to Pittsburgh for the surgery that saved his life. Via a leg bone, Tassy gained a brand new jaw that bares almost no trace of the surgery. After valiantly fighting off a post-surgery infection which made Team Tassy fear he "would never get better," Tassy steadily improved.
Tassy lived with Ian in his two-bedroom apartment before and after his surgery, forging a friendship that will last forever, between a 19-year-old kid and the 29-year-old man who made a big promise and kept it.
Last May, Tassy Fils-aime didn’t have a chance. Now, he’s tumor free, full of hope, with plans for college. There are literally tens of millions of kids like Tassy out there. Many of them hold the keys to their own country’s success, but will die of curable illnesses and diseases before they get the chance.
The Team Tassy Foundation identifies kids who someday will give their own countries a fighting chance, arranges for the surgeries that save their lives, and then reaches out to their families to treat the root cause of why they were sick in the first place.
Tassy was the first. Ruth and her brother Nathaniel are next. They live in a family where their parents routinely have to choose between healthcare and food, and they’re both quite sick. With your help, we can change that right now.
Click here to reserve your tickets for The Second Annual Night for Tassy: Thursday night, from 6 to 9pm, at The Grand Hall at The Priory Hotel. Join hosts Sally Wiggin (WTAE) and Randy Baumann (WDVE) for a night of live music (including a performance from Tassy) as well as food, prizes, and surprises. Silent auction items include sports memorabilia, art work, jewelry and even a guest chef dinner with Tassy and Ian Rosenberger.
Help Team Tassy save another two lives.