Matthew Alcantar hasn’t had the best luck in life: His mom was disabled by a horse carriage accident in Santa Barbara in 1998, he’s needed cervical spine surgery and many others after his neck was broken in a rear-end collision at Milpas and Carrillo streets in 2004, and, just last week, he was having emergency gallbladder surgery at Cottage Hospital. But rather than wallow in his pain, Alcantar is pursuing a dream to start a gym and show that the disabled are “handi-capable” rather than handicapped.
“I have a burning passion that the deepest ocean could not put out,” said Alcantar last week, “and it is for Handicapable805.” That’s the gym he wants to start, modeled on Ability360 in Phoenix and the Brown Center at Cal State, Northridge, both of which he recently visited, and inspired by Ned Norton’s Warriors on Wheels organization in Albany, New York. He wants Handicapable805 to first raise attention and awareness for the disabled community and then establish an “inclusive, accessible, adapted health fitness center” for individuals with injuries and other disabilities, including disabled vets.
This weekend, to help pay for the paperwork of becoming a 501c3 nonprofit, Alcantar is throwing a fundraiser at Slanging Ink Tattoo shop on Milpas Street. “The tattoo artist who did my handi-capable tattoo has always supported my cause and wanted to see change in our Handicapable805 family’s health and happiness,” said Alcantar of Slanging Ink owner Sergio Diaz, who gave Alcantar his Handicapable tattoo in March 2014. “It was a gift to myself as a reminder that I am ‘handi-useful’ and capable of anything,” said Alcantar, who said Diaz agreed to host the fundraiser “without hesitation.”
Their first event, which will bring attention to autism, features a $5 raffle (with prizes from Lure Fish House and other restaurants), tattoo promotions, and special guests DJ of Ability Chris Benedict and Dan Yanez, former lead singer of the band Up N Arms. It goes down Saturday, June 25, noon-5 p.m. at Slanging Ink Tattoo, 900 North Milpas Street.
“My idea is to inspire the world to have more awareness and acceptance came to me after I seen a autism awareness tattoo,” said Alcantar. “So I decided to dedicate my body and tattoo special needs logos and tattoos, starting around my ‘handicapable’ tattoo on my right leg. I will be tattooing the Autism Speaks logo on my leg at this event to kick off my #Journey2aStory.”