NORTHFIELD, OH (WOIO) - A community is coming together for a young local girl who lost her leg to an infection.
Tessa Puma, 6, is a dancer at Center Stage Dance Academy in Northfield, Ohio. Just two weeks ago, the kindergartner whirled onto the stage and kicked her leg up for her new signature move.
No one knew it would be the last time she would dance that way.
Earlier this week, doctors amputated Tessa's left leg. The 6-year old had been hospitalized for strep throat and flu. Her dance teachers at Center Stage said the news is heartbreaking.
"That was beyond devastating. For us, for her family, for her whole dance community here. We know that Tessa is a little girl that is made to dance," said Stacey Kopec, dance instructor.
The youngest member of the dance company, Tessa has been dancing since she was 3 years old.
"She was good at everything she tried. She was easy to coach and she was a good friend to the other kids in class, too," said Joyce Mersinas.
Her dance mates are returning that friendship. They've been making cards and sending thoughts, prayers and positive messages her way.
Tessa's family tells her teachers that she still has a long way to go and needs all the support she can get. The academy is selling T-shirts as well as hosting fundraisers and 5Ks to raise money for her medical expenses, including a prosthetic leg and physical rehabilitation. Tessa's dance family believes that she will dance again.
"I don't think anything will stop her from dancing. Dance just isn't your lower body. Dance is in your heart and in your behavior and how you face the world and that's just who Tessa is," said Mersinas.
Those interested can support Tessa and her family by clicking or tapping here.