TAMPA (FOX 13) - Growing up is hard for everyone but for someone who was born with undeveloped arms and legs, it's even worse.
"It got to the point that I did have suicidal thoughts, I thought the best thing for me to do was to take my own life because I didn't want to live in this body anymore,” Nick Santonastasso told FOX 13 News. “I was at the point of, ‘Why me?’ I was in that victim mentality: Why does it have to be me in this body, why do I have to go through these things."
Santonastasso was born with a condition called Hanhart Syndrome that leaves babies with undeveloped limbs or organs. In 1996, Nick was only the 12th baby in medical history to have this condition. Eight passed away from undeveloped organs.
Doctors told his parents that he had a 70-percent chance of not making it.
"They sat me down and said, ‘The world isn't going to stop for you just because you were born like this. That’s all life is, is adapting and overcoming.’ It got my mind in a set of not can't, but how. What's it gonna be? That’s the approach we all need to take in life," Nick said.
Mark Twain once wrote, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." Nick changed his question from "why me" to simply "why" -- Why say a 70-percent chance of dying when you can say a 30-percent chance of living?
Nick shifted the way he looked at the world. He now competes in bodybuilding, modeling and anything else he puts his mind to. Nick considers himself more than a motivational speaker, what he calls a "shifter of perspectives" and lends a hand to talk with big corporations, conferences and schools.
Nick says his work is far from over.
"The biggest disability that you can have is a bad mindset, not this body. I don't think of myself as a superhero. I'm a superhero in training figuring out the best way to use my superpower for the world,” he added. “I may not have legs but I'm going to leave a massive footprint before I leave."