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Sep 2

Fitness athlete Nick Santonastasso adapts to life without legs and an arm – Purpose 2 Play

Nick Santonastasso doesnt have legs, and he only has one arm, but like any other athlete, his body is doing exactly what he asks of it.

The 20-year-old from Bayville, New Jersey was diagnosed at birth with Hanhart Syndrome, an incredibly rare disease in which babies are born with underdeveloped limbs or weak organs. There have only been 12 cases worldwide.

Today, Santonastasso is a fitness athlete, model and motivational speaker.

You have to adapt to the way you are, he wisely said at 17 years old. Before anyone will love you, youve got to love yourself.

He has the physical strength do almost anything, including flipping tires. But, its his inner strength thats most impressive.

Santonastasso played the drums in elementary school, but once he got to high school, he was encouraged by his wrestling coach to hit the mat. At the time, the bone in his right arm was growing faster than the skin, so he opted to have most of it amputated to relieve the pain in order to start wrestling his junior year.

I had standing ovations when I lost, and I just didnt understand because Im a very competitive person. Im like, Youre not supposed to cheer on someone that loses, Santonastasso told Great Big Story. After the matches, Id have parents come up to me and be like, Hey, my kid never did a sport, and he saw you today. Now he signed up for all these sports because he sees if youre doing it, theres no excuse for him not to. Thats why Im here.

And so many others are glad Santonastasso is here and delivering the message he is. He has more than 230,000 followers on Instagram, where he often posts fitness videos and pictures, demonstrating what he is capable of doing.

Take a look at this short clip of Santonastasso courtesy of Great Big Story.

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Fitness athlete Nick Santonastasso adapts to life without legs and an arm - Purpose 2 Play

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