Tessa David used to be the one cheering on others. Now, her friends, fans, and former cheerleaders are the ones encouraging her and letting her know how much they believe in her.
Tessa is a professional dancer and former cheerleader with the Indianapolis Colts.
As the Daily Mail reports, on December 1st, the healthy, vibrant 28-year-old had a stroke in her sleep. In a moment, her life changed completely as her body stopped obeying her and she was left paralyzed on her right side.
“Everything went dizzy on me,” she told Fox 59 News, remembering that night. “My arm, I couldn’t feel it.”
Though it may seem unusual for someone as young and fit as Tessa to have a stroke, the National Stroke Association says that strokes — which occur when the flow of blood to an area of the brain is cut off — can happen to anyone, regardless of age.
As Tessa struggled to re-learn even how to walk, talk, and more, her family shared stories of her progress and her struggle.
“Sixty percent of my brain was injured,” David said. “I can’t read, I can’t do numbers, math has no meaning to me.”
But if Tessa thought that she was alone in her struggle, she quickly learned how many people were pulling for her. The cheerleader became the cheered-on as Tessa’s former teammates rallied around her to encourage her through her recovery.
“When something tragic happens like this you have to bond together as a family and just do what you can to try to make it better and to try and help out any way you can,” Kristine A., Tessa’s former roommate told Fox 59.
Having finished with her in-patient therapy in Illinois, Tessa paid a visit to her teammates in Indianapolis, where she showed off her progress.
Tessa suffered such a severe stroke that her recovery has been called “miraculous,” but Tessa admits that she sometimes has difficulty seeing the successes that others do.
“I can’t see it,” she said. “Everybody says they can, I can’t see it, I’m a fighter, I will be a fighter. I can’t see it.”
But if Tessa sometimes has trouble believing in her ability to overcome, her teammates have no such qualms.
“If anybody can overcome this, it’s Tessa,” Lauren M., a cheerleader for the Colts, told Fox 59. “I teared up just telling her how much of an inspiration she is.”
While Tessa is in Indianapolis, the Colts Cheerleaders are planning a calendar release party to help benefit Tessa’s recovery fund. A separate GoFundMe campaign continues to raise funds for Tessa’s recovery and has received donations from cheerleaders around the country and fans who remember seeing Tessa cheer for the Colts. ………’