A 16-year-old girl who lost her arms and legs to a deadly virus plays piano in front of a crowd for the first time in this emotional clip.
Brave Bella Tucker won cheers and a standing ovation after plucking up the courage to perform ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ to a room of 200 people at a talent show.
The inspirational teenager learned the instrument after being struck down by a deadly virus aged eight which her parents at first thought was the flu.
Her dad Rich Tucker, 48, says it turned her entire body PURPLE after infecting her bloodstream and left the the little girl on the brink of death.
Miraculously she battled back but had to have all four limbs amputated to save her life and after eight months in hospital and intensive physio, she took up piano lessons.
Now she practises whenever she can and has mastered the skill of performing beautiful songs by pressing keys with the stumps of her arms.t
Bella, of Pelham, New Hampshire, said: “I use the tip of my arms to press the keys and I simplify the music so I play no more than two notes at a time.
“I always enjoy hearing the end product of a song. ”
She added: “I can imagine that people assume that I can’t do all of the things that they can.
“When they see how independent I am they treat me the same as they would anyone else.”
Bella’s ordeal began on Easter Sunday 2010 when she woke up feeling achey, tired and suffering from flu-like symptoms.
In that time the deadly virus – caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria – was seeping into her bloodstream and attacking her body.
Rich, a carpenter, said: “She said she would take it easy and ride it out a but then I noticed her stomach was starting to turn dark purple so we rushed her to ER.
“Within an hour her whole body was purple. She was bloated and puffy and they had her in a helicopter going to Boston Children’s Hospital.
“They said, ‘There’s a good chance she is not going to make it.”
Incredibly Bella defied the odds to pull through after medics exchanged the infected plasma for healthy plasma.
Slowly the purple disappeared from her face and stomach but as that was clearing up her limbs became darker and darker until they were completely black.
Doctors had no choice but to amputate both her legs above the knee and arms above the elbow to save her core.
Ever since then, determined Bella has battled to do things that other kids can do – like painting using a cloth sleeve on her arm and playing piano.
Rich said: “It was the scariest time of my life but Bella’s attitude throughout has just been absolutely unbelievable.
“She can’t play soccer or basketball but she started taking piano lessons and learned how to play with the ends of her arms.
“She never played before all this happened but she didn’t find it difficult – it was just a matter of finding the right song where she can play one or two keys at a time.”
Bella made her on-stage debut at a talent show during Camp No Limits, an event hosted by the No Limits Foundation, a non-profit supporting children with limb loss.
She took to the stage in front of hundreds of other children and their parents at Camp No Limits in Maine in August.
Dad Rich added: “She was really shy before and so the fact she would even get up and play in front of 200 people just blew me away.
“You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I was one of the people crying.
“She is an awesome kid. She has such a great attitude. I just love her so much.”
Mary Leighton, founder of the No Limits Foundation, said: “Bella had the room in silence while she played and brought everyone to tears of joy.
“She was nervous but played so beautifully. She is a beautiful soul.”