Mike Alt’s ABS Story

I was born in Santa Clara, California with ABS in December of 1989. I was a fully healthy baby except for the fact that I was born with only two full fingers on each hand. I was only given a pinky and a thumb and the rest in between were nubs. My parents faced a difficult choice. They were given two options; one they could try to perform a surgery on my hands that would extend the nubs and try to make them resemble full fingers to the best of their ability. Or they could let me be and just support me throughout my life. They chose the second option and I am grateful for that decision every day of my life.

When I was a year old I went in for a checkup with my mom. They sat me down on a table and dropped a piece of string in front of my face. Without hesitation I reached up and grabbed the string out of midair. The doctor saw this and told my mom that I was going to be alright. The doctor said that I probably wouldn’t be able to play on the monkey bars and that I would struggle playing sports, but that I should be able to do everything else.

When I was 4 years old my mom and my older sister took me to one of the parks by our house. They were keeping a close eye on me but I was playing by myself for the most part. I traveled over to the monkey bars where your stand on a platform and swing from one ring to the next until you get to the other side. I stood there thinking to myself the story of what the doctors told my mom and I went for it. I made it through four rings and then finally let go. I was so excited that I ran to my mother and sister both welling up with tears of joy and said to them, “I did it, did you see me?!” they definitely saw me and from that moment on I knew that there was nothing I couldn’t do!

Growing up in school was tough. I got bullied almost every day. I was called “Two Fingers,” “No hands,” etc. I was told by the kids on the playground that I would never be able to it my own shoes or be able to play sports as good as everyone else because I was different. Luckily I had a very strong support system within my family and they always encouraged me and told me that I could do anything I put my mind to as long as I believed in myself. Even through the tough times I kept that saying in the back of my mind and walked through life with somewhat of a chip on my shoulder. My mindset was that I could do anything like anyone else and if they didn’t believe me then I would prove it to them. 

I played Volleyball in middle school and then went on to play Basketball and Tennis in High School. Sports were always my outlet because no matter what if I was performing well in a sport then it in turn silenced all of my critics. I was the captain for my tennis and basketball teams and graduated High School with honors. After high school my goal was to do something everyone told me I couldn’t and that was to become a college athlete. I walked on to the tennis team at Sierra College in California. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints I had to move back home to Reno, Nevada before I could ever play in a match for Sierra. 

I moved back and became one of the head tennis coaches for the high school tennis program that I previously played for. I am going on my fifth year as a tennis coach and my second year as a freshman basketball coach. I am looking to graduate college at the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall of 2013.

I have always believed that I was given these hands not because of a curse or a mistake, but rather a gift. I can see the world in a way that others can’t and it has given me the ability to connect with people that I never imagined was possible. I recently started a Blog about my stories of perseverance and have made it my mission to help to try to motivate and inspire everyone out there who is facing an obstacle. I am doing speeches at local schools in my area to spread my motto that “Can’t is not an Excuse.” No matter what hand you are dealt in life, you can overcome any obstacle that life throws at you. It is my goal to spread my story and to inspire those who have lost hope for whatever reason. If I can do it, you can do it. Everyone told me growing up that I couldn’t do things and I have tried my hardest to prove them wrong to show others that it is possible. I recently made an inspirational video about my story that I hope spreads motivation to everyone around the world!

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6 thoughts on “Mike Alt’s ABS Story

  1. Hi Mike. What I read and saw is very Inspiring. I am father to a 5 day old girl born with ABS. Thankfully, it has affected only her left hand and she seems to have a well developed thumb and a pinkie on it. Look forward to receive more updates as you excel in life and if possible, some more notes on how to cope with life as a teenager.

  2. That was a great story. I babysit for a child with abs and now realize that she can do anything we give her the opportunity to do-tennis, softball, swimming you name it. I sort of figured as much but seeing your video and your ability helped me understand better how to approach the disability-by introducing her to as much as possible and letting her take off! Thank you for your inspirational story.

  3. You are an inspiration! You are great and you will be greater in the future. My daughter was born with amniotic band syndrome affecting both her hands, her feet and her left leg. She is 3 months old right now. In the future I aim to encourage and support her to achieve everything she could wish for in life especially because I know it is possible. Thank you for sharing.

  4. My Grandson has just been born with cleft lip and palate, three middle fingers banded and missing toe on left side. Having read this I now have a greater understanding of this condition and can help prepare the young lad for a positive future. Briliant!

  5. Hi was reading ur story. And my daughter wad born with abs she was born with no fingers on her left hand. And it would amase you what she can do . And shes only turning 2 . Thanks for ur post give me hope for her.

  6. U are my hero… Even tho i dont have abs , the fact that u can tell ur inspiring storie nd show u can do wat u want to do is amazing! I saw the video and the article it inspired me to try harder nd never give up ( no excuses ) and to appriciate what i have . Thank u :* u truly are a hero

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