PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A teenager from Haiti came to Pittsburgh last year to have life-saving surgery to remove a fast-growing tumor on his face.

Tassy Filsaime, 19, is going back to Haiti this week with a big smile on his face. It’s been a long road since he first arrived in Pittsburgh.

“I spent a lot of time seeing in the mirror with a big thing,” Filsaime said. “When I see me in the mirror now, I can’t believe it’s me.”

Tassy underwent a 12-hour surgery to remove his tumor and part of his jaw. Then he had reconstructive surgery. He’ll come back later this year for dental implants.

He was lucky. The tumor was benign – no cancer.

The medical team at Allegheny General Hospital donated their services. The hospital, the rest at-cost expenses were covered by fundraisers all put together by Ian Rosenberger. He met Tassy while in Haiti after the earthquake looking for a way to help.

“When Tassy said that day, ‘Can you help me?’ None of us I think had any idea our lives were going to change as much as they have and as positively as they have,” Rosenberger said.

“You want to say thank you, but it’s very little,” Tassy said. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

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