6-year-old Northfield dancer who lost leg to rare infection is improving and grateful for life

Posted at 4:14 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 17:50:37-04

The story of 6-year-old Tessa Puma has captured the hearts of many in Northeast Ohio.

The kindergartner and dancer from Northfield had her left leg amputated after getting a rare infection. 

Now Tessa's family is sharing details on her progress and courage. 

Her dad, Matt, is amazed by his little girl's strength and positive attitude. 

Tessa had her seventh surgery Wednesday and has one more to go at Akron Children's Hospital. 

RELATED: Students wear pink Friday for Nordonia kindergartner who lost leg after strep, flu led to infection


The family told News 5 she is dealing with a lot of pain because her skin grafts stretch from her thigh to her shoulder. 

Tessa, who is known as a fantastic dancer, developed strep throat and the flu, and then, a rare infection spread to her left leg. It was so serious that the leg had to be amputated to save her life. 

The Puma family is uplifted by a lot of community support — including pink ribbons and signs that line Tessa's Northfield neighborhood. 

Her parents stressed to Tessa that she will be able to dance again. 

Matt explained her courageous reaction when she was told about her leg:

"She said, 'Wow, really?' We asked her if she wanted to see her leg. We showed her. She said it was creepy but over time we showed her more and more and she actually said that she was happy that's all it was...that she just lost her leg and that she did not die."

Matt said Tessa should be getting a prosthetic leg in a few months. 

In the meantime, a 5k run/walk in Sagamore Hills has been organized to raise money for the family.

Want to get involved? Information about the Team Tessa 5k Walk/Run here.