Hi Grateful Lifers! Happy Friday :) You are all looking fabulous today. (Yep, I'm safely assuming).
I'm gonna cut right to the chase: I need your help.
My friend and pseudo little brother is lacing up his shoes to participate in a relay race as part of the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 15 to raise money for a cause that is very near and dear to my family's heart.
Here's a little back story, starting with an email I received almost a year ago....
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.
Thanks to the generosity, kindness, love and support of many incredible people (as well as the powerful hearts and souls of the Team Tassy fund-raising group) enough money was raised and Tassy was able to receive his life saving procedure!! According to the surgeon's estimates, without his trip to the U.S. Tassy would’ve died sometime in February. After shattering his jaw while eating lunch, he would have passed away due to blood loss or a quick bout with an infection in his mouth--all while suffering extreme pain when breathing and drinking. As my friend told me, that lunch would have been his last meal.
Following along with Tassy's recovery has been such a pleasure. Learning that his spirit remained unbroken throughout the entire ordeal was such an inspiration to me; his strength and joy and zest for life is something I wish the whole world could feel. I loved hearing stories like Tassy pretending to slip for a moment during a walk and nearly giving Ian (his friend and the head of Team Tassy) a heart attack. Being able to keep a sense of humor during an ordeal such as his showed me just how genuinely special this person is.
This young man's story is so beautiful...I think you should meet Tassy :)....
Tassy, prior to his surgery, rocking some killer Penn State gear :)
How handsome is that smile?!
Here's the next part of the story, starting with another email I received as an update on Tassy...
Tassy just realized last night that he was missing half of his teeth from his lower jaw. Unlike most of us, he thought that was the funniest thing. He asked if he would have to return to Haiti without his teeth. Ian gave him the options and he started laughing and laughed and laughed. He said he didn’t think his girlfriend would like that so much.
Can you imagine waking up from an invasive surgery to see that you were missing half of your teeth and your gut reaction being to *laugh*? I mean c'mon. Talk about having a positive outlook. Would *you* react in the same way? I'm ashamed to say I can't say that I would.
So here is where I need your help. To help Tassy *fully* recover from his procedure, Team Tassy needs an unexpected additional $10,000 for his jaw and teeth reconstructive surgery. My friend is partnering with the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation to help raise money for the surgery through his participation in the Pittsburgh Marathon...and I wanted to pass along the word.
I have received blessing after blessing in my small and humble life, starting with good health and access to good health care. We are all children of this world--we are all connected--and it is our duty to take care of each other. I am invested in this cause because I have the opportunity to extend kindness to another human being; to participate in giving someone a true and wonderful second shot at life. A shot, after having learned so much about Tassy, that he deserves to the utmost.
I don't want to b.s. you or beat around the bush: In short, if you feel that you are in a position to donate, please visit Frank's page HERE!
Thank you, thank you, thank you my darling readers. I am beyond grateful for your support. It means so much to me that you would even take the time to read this post and to send Tassy all of the loving, good thoughts you can muster. I'm so stoked at the idea of our grateful community helping to put that gorgeous smile back on Tassy's face!! You are rock stars and I love your guts!
As Elizabeth Gilbert says...
"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."
Love and Light,
ps- for more information on Tassy, give me a shout!