Somebody call Oprah, for the love of God

You guys know about Tassy because I’ve written about Tassy since Tassy became “Ian’s Tassy.”

A 19-year-old Haitian who had a cancerous tumor growing on his jaw and who couldn’t have it removed because of the destruction the earthquake wreaked on Haiti’s hospitals.

Former Survivor contestant (OMG, he is going to SHAKE A FIST AT ME for mentioning Survivor again, but I don’t care. Survivor Survivor Survivor!) Ian Rosenberger had a chance meeting of Tassy in Haiti and decided he was going to save his life.

And then he did.

Four months after he brought him to Pittsburgh for his surgery, Ian took Tassy back home to Haiti on an early flight yesterday to reunite Tassy with his mother and siblings and other family and friends. Tassy is healthy and happy and whole.

I asked Ian and Tassy each five questions for my next installment of Five Questions for … over at Pittsburgh Magazine.

It’s one of the most incredible stories I’ve ever seen unfold and one sure to make you believe in the power of love, the power of perseverance, and the power of Pittsburgh’s people.

A snippet from Ian’s answers:

4. What was the single scariest moment of this journey for you?
For me, I can pick it out exactly. It was this past July, before we had money, doctors or we even really knew what Tassy’s chances were. Tassy e-mailed me worried that he was getting worse, and I was hanging out with my Dad at my parent’s place. I had zero idea of how to help this kid, and was really scared that he would die before we could get our sh*t together enough to get him to the States. I had given him my word, and in Haiti, when some white dude comes from the U.S. and says he can help you, you believe him, you even count on it. Knowing that kept me up at night.

There are two other questions I asked Ian about the future of this effort, and I’m going to share those with you next week because they’re as incredibly moving as Tassy’s story.

As for Tassy, these are the questions I asked him:

1. What does Pittsburgh and its people mean to you?

2. What are you going to miss the most about living here?

3. What shocked you the most about America?

4. What kind of future do you see for yourself, and how is it different than the future you envisioned before you came to America?

5. If there’s just one thing you’d want us to remember about you, what would it be?

I guarantee his answers to #1 and #5 are going to have you blinking away tears.

Go read!


  1. Legallypgh(Kathy)
    February 18, 2011 2:37 pm

    Great story Ginny! What an amazing journey for Ian and Tassy….

  2. gunnlino
    February 18, 2011 3:11 pm

    Another ‘Burger giving all their heart without question. Geez I love this city.
    Thank you, Ian.

  3. Paul
    February 18, 2011 3:22 pm

    Such a touching story. Kudos to Ian for turning an opportunity like Survivor into something like this.

  4. Julie
    February 18, 2011 3:41 pm

    Kudos to Ian for doing such a wonderful thing, and kudos to you Ginny for sharing it with us! How wonderful!!

  5. Sheila
    February 18, 2011 4:37 pm

    Best 2 people you have interviewed for 5 questions yet & best answers too!

  6. Biggest Fan
    February 18, 2011 6:26 pm

    Beautiful! Tassy and all who played a part in this!

  7. Aileen
    February 18, 2011 6:31 pm

    The only thing that could possibly make this story even better would be if we found out that Tassy throws a 96 mph fastball and a filthy curve, signs with the Pirates and leads them to their 1st winning season in 18 years … and then helps the people of Haiti rebuild with his newly found fame and fortune…

  8. katsbynp
    February 18, 2011 6:53 pm

    Ginny-thank goodness I didn’t have time to read the article at work..tears were definitely in my eyes. The story of Ian and Tassy is inspiring..and special thanks and love to Ian for his perservence and belief in humanity..proud to say he is a Burger.
    Thanks to you Ginny for sharing their story

  9. facie
    February 18, 2011 8:26 pm

    Great interviews.

    Love Ian’s sweatshirt!

    What show is Tassy talking about?

  10. SpudMom
    February 20, 2011 12:33 pm

    @facie – I *think* he’s talking about Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo.

  11. Lindsey
    February 21, 2011 1:15 am

    My Sociology professor at Penn State, Sam Richards, knows Tassy and Ian! He \’s promised to come visit our class before the school year is over!

  12. elysianfantasy
    February 21, 2011 1:32 pm

    LOVED the article, and loved Tassy’s answers! Thank goodness for wonderful people Ian Rosenberger, and thank YOU for continuing to help spread the word about things like this and inspiring us to help!

  13. elysianfantasy
    February 21, 2011 1:33 pm

    I probably should have included the word “like” before Ian’s name. It makes more sense that way. :P