July 25, 2013
New Jersey Teen Is An Inspiration to All Hunters and Anglers
By Ben Romans
Every once in a while, you come across an article or video clip that makes you pause for a moment and put your life into perspective. This is one of them. And it's especially relevant to sportsmen.
It's an article in the Asbury Park Press by Bonnie Delaney about a teenager from Berkeley Township, New Jersey. Nick Santonastasso, 17, is a high-schooler who enjoys skateboarding, swimming, bicycling, music (he sings, plays the piano and drums) and sports—even lettering in varsity wrestling—but he’s especially fond of hunting and fishing, and doesn’t let anything prevent him from enjoying the outdoors.
At times, it’s all easier said than done. Nick was born with oromandibular limb hypogenesis syndrome (Hanhart syndrome), a rare condition that results in a lack of limbs, heart or kidney defects, or gastrointenstinal disorders. The youngest of four children, Nick was born without legs, a stump below the shoulder instead of a right arm, and while his left arm is normal, his hand has only one finger.
But at first, you don’t notice any of those things—you notice the word “inspire” tattooed down the left side of his body. It’s his daily mantra. Where others might see hardships, Nick sees opportunities, making the most of each day and motivating others to do the same.
He’s an avid hunter and has tagged five bucks over the years, including a nice 12-pointer. And he can probably give most fishermen a run for their money—he certainly has no problem casting a rod and has created quite a following on YouTube, where he posts clips from some of his outings and accomplishments. The article says that one video inspired a five-year-old orphan in China with no muscle mass in his legs to move into a chair under his own power.
Take a breather from the workday, read Nick’s story and watch the video clip. The scenes of him fishing with his father are especially moving. It will inspire you and do your heart good.