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8-year-old dancer refuses to give up after losing her leg

8-year-old dancer inspires after amputation
8-year-old dancer refuses to give up after losing leg 02:01

Northfield, Ohio — Eight-year-old Tessa Puma loves dancing so much she even does it in her dreams. She was winning competitions at 5 years old, but when she was 6, her dreams were almost cut short.

Her parents thought she had the flu. It was actually a potentially fatal infection.

"Within 15 hours it spread up her whole left side of her body," said Matt Puma, her father.

Tessa's left leg had to be amputated above the knee, and her parents said they were told she only had a 20 percent chance of survival. 

But after two and a half months in the hospital, she pulled through.

Her parents hoped she would walk again. But Tessa had other ideas.

With a prosthetic leg and painful skin grafts over 40 percent of her body, re-learning how to dance was excruciating. Tessa's dance teacher, however, said her prosthetic leg hasn't slowed her down at all. Even more impressive: she continues to ace back handsprings.

She already knows she wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up. But on the dance floor in her living room where she practices every day, even she struggles to teach someone with two left feet.

Tessa is now competing again, and she recently did her first solo performance since her illness.

"Never give up," she said.

Those are words to live by from a 8-year-old who is living her dream.

Tessa Puma tries to teach Chip Reid how to dance. CBS News
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