Nonna Loves Tassy!

(This is a shout-out to a few of my favorite blog readers…Frank, lil belle and t)

A few weeks ago I received word of this amazing philanthropic initiative to save a young Haitian man from the perils of cancer.  To say this kid is inspiring is an understatement.  Needless to say, I have been pretty talkative about Tassy (who will be described in a little further detail below…).  Tonight, Nonna and I were talking over dinner about Tassy, and about bad things happening to good people…I’ll be honest, I was complaining a little bit about some technology issues I experienced at work when Nonna reminded me of Tassy…

“The poor kid in Haiti would do anything to be somebody. When you think of all these bad things you have to think of another thing. you makin the sign of the cross and you say devil go away. Instead of the cry you say God give me the strength to accept. Or you can break a glass. Sometimes it works for me. The important thing is…no matter what …you have to accept it. For this boy, people come and save him.  They stir the pot. The bad thing already happen to him when the earth shaken…now the good thing is going to happen too.

Me: You are right.

Nonna: The thing is just one. He is a good looking kid too. I hope everything is going to be okay for that kid. He can come over for dinner. You invite him. Welcome Home.

If only we could all have the same heart…

While I know this a bit of a departure from the usual antics of Nonna…I wanted to share with you a bit of the wisdom I am lucky enough to receive on a daily basis.  No matter what wind blows her way, Nonna’s strength is able to withstand it…she might cry (a lot) or yell (a lot) or lose a lot of sleep, but she gets through it. We could all use a little of this type of strength in our lives.

I hope these same sentiments carry Tassy (and his incredible team) through the upcoming months…read on friends…and pay it forward if you can.

Meet Tassy

In the words of Frank (one of my avid readers and boyfriend to my little belle)

Cancer has taken from every one of us in one way or another.  We all know it doesn’t care about age, or race, or relatives. It kills without regard for social status or place in the world. It’s amazing to me that something so small, so silent can take so much. It takes dignity. It takes strength. It takes lives. It takes hope.


On a recent trip to Haiti, a friend of mine met Tassy Filsaime. As a young boy, Tassy was involved with a gang in one of the worst slums in one of the worst cities of one of the most dangerous countries in the world. As a young man, he is now active in his community church, leads services, and is the principle vocalist in this church choir. He is the future of Haiti. And he has cancer.
In a country that has survived over a century of political and economic turmoil and, more recently, the worst natural catastrophe in the history of the Western Hemisphere, Tassy may not survive. The tennis ball-sized tumor in his cheek is growing. What once used to be an inconvenience, is starting to make eating difficult. It will soon make eating impossible. Shortly after that, breathing won’t be an option either. Given proper medical care, it could’ve been detected much earlier, but he was born in a world without health insurance, pediatricians, oncologists, or regular check-ups.
But it’s not too late.
Through the generosity of Allegheny General Hospital, the tab for a $500,000 life-saving surgery has been reduced to $30,000. We have 21 days (basically until the end of August) to raise the funds to save his life. He has been granted a medical visa, but the window of opportunity is getting smaller. We can save his life, but we can’t do it alone. Whether you have a little left in your monthly budget or have a powerful network of friends to spread the word to, we can use every ounce of help we can get.
To help, you can:
1) Learn: About Tassy (and Haiti)
2) Attend: The event on August 26th at the Priory in Pittsburgh
2) Donate: To the cause (It’s tax deductible!)
3) Purchase: Prints from my Ian’s travels to Haiti
4) Share: His story via our social media outlets (A work in progress)
5) Forward: This e-mail to anyone you know that may be interested in any of the above ways of helping Tassy.
Cancer is about to take again. This time, it’s going to take the life from a young Haitian. This time, it’s going to take from the future of Haiti.

Do you have what it takes to save Tassy?
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