Tampa man, living with rare condition, hoping crowdfunding will help him buy service dog

Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 17:35:18-04

At the time of his birth, Nick Santonastasso was one of 12 people ever born with Hanhart syndrome. Most of those 12 haven’t survived to adulthood, but here Nick is, not just living, but thriving.

Hanhart syndrome is a rare condition that primarily affects a person’s arms, legs and facial bones. Instead of living life with a disability though, Nick has chosen to make it an ability to inspire others. He says his objective is to live this life above average.

“I’m always looking for what’s next,” said Nick. “What can kind of scare me or make me uncomfortable.”

When we met Nick in May 2016, he was just trying to inspire as many people as he could across the country. Now, he has taken on his first body building competition and took home third place!

“A lot of people just stay in a slump and just stay stagnant. That’s the last thing you want to do is just stay average,” said Nick.

He’s anything but average. From his high intensity workouts, motivational speaking even a chance meeting in the gym with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he’s working on a personal brand that has perhaps made him synonymous with the term “no excuses.”

Nick has become a viral sensation with more than 365,000 followers on social media and 52,000 subscribers on YouTube. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t ask for help, rather offers it through his motivational speaking and inspiring social media posts.

A couple of Nick’s friends got together and said it was time for someone to help him. They took it upon themselves to set up a GoFundMe page in hopes of helping Nick raise money for a service dog.

“Most people think of a service dog as emotional support. These dogs are also trained for protection and protection is huge for me,” said Nick.

The crowdfunding campaign is hoping to raise $12,000 for a helpful companion for Nick. Something he says he is grateful for.

“I’m not a super human. I do a lot of things I adapt daily. There are a lot of things and having a dog around would help,” said Nick.

For more information on Nick’s story and the campaign, visit: