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6-year-old amputee beats the odds and comes home

Friday marked the homecoming for 6-year-old Tessa Puma, who lost her leg to a bizarre illness.  She is looking forward to returning to her passion of dancing as she keeps beating the odds.

She is a tiny dancer, sidelined when her life was on the line.

Tessa Puma and her parents were living a nightmare when a bizarre illness attacked her body and even stumped doctors.

Now WKYC Channel 3 News is happy to bring you the latest chapter in the #tessatrong story.

It’s the beginning of so much more she'll get to do up ahead on what has been a long tough scary road.

Friday was never guaranteed.

That’s why the gratitude was palpable at the Tessa Puma homecoming that was more than 2 painstaking months in the making.

She is a 6-year-old dance phenom. In fact, Tessa is the youngest to ever make Center Stage dance studio's competitive dance team.

Then in March, this pint size inspiration was up against a bizarre illness that was brutal when it struck. Doctors first diagnosed it as strep throat, then the flu, then Tessa's left leg started swelling.

He dad says she was screaming in pain and they knew clearly, this was not just the flu.

"Her skin was blistering. The infection came up her side, into her shoulder, they had to remove a muscle and it came across her chest and her back. Each day they would do surgery to cut her open to find out what's going to happen to her. They told us that night we're going to prepare you she is probably going to lose her leg and there may be only a 20% chance she lives," says Matt Puma, Tessa’s father as he still chokes back tears.

But Friday was all about celebrating second chances.

Tessa, at home in Northfield, the hospital finally in the rearview mirror on this arduous journey.

Big brother Tyler speaks for the growing #tessastrong family when he says, "I'm so glad she's home. I love Tessa."

It sure looked like the whole neighborhood does too.

Everywhere you look, #tessstrong signs were sprouting up for this hard-fought-for homecoming.

"For a 6-year-old girl she is definitely an inspiration to everybody. I keep telling her every day that she's my superhero," says Matt Puma.

A superhero sporting that trademark Tessa hair bow that has become the very symbol of #tessastrong.

“It is worldwide. It’s amazing how far our community helped her story just go crazy and reach everyone else's lives," says Matt Puma.

So, don't try to stop her now.

Up next?

"Her comeback dance," says Tessa’s dance instructor, Stacey Kopec.

"She's got the strength, the spirit, the determination and she will definitely, without a doubt, reach every single goal she has including being on stage again and we can't wait to see it," says Kopec.

If you would like to help the Puma Family as #tessastrong continues, visit their YouCaring website.

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