From challenge to triumph: amputee shares his story

Two Inspiring Individuals: CU Freshman, Carlos Domingez and guest speaker Todd Huston together prior to the conference.

Two Inspiring Individuals: CU Freshman, Carlos Domingez and guest speaker Todd Huston together prior to the conference.

Sadie Jones

Arts & Entertainment Editor

On Oct. 9, Cameron University students — along with faculty, staff and members of the Lawton community — gathered to listen to the story of how one man defied all odds and turned a challenge into a triumph.

The CU Office of Student Development joined the Cameron Lecture and Concert Series to present guest speaker, amputee Todd Huston’s story on “Overcoming Challenges.”      The event was co-sponsored by the Athletic Department. Hudson spoke at 6:30 p.m. in the MCC Ballroom.

Huston’s speech focused on his injury which transformed his life and mind. After being involved in a water skiing accident, Huston was forced to have his right leg amputated.  This setback ultimately allowed him to reach new heights. He encouraged listeners to make the best of every challenge they are faced with.

Freshman student and Math major Carlos Dominguez introduced Huston to the audience. Dominguez is also familiar with triumphing over the unexpected. After being involved in a car accident, Dominguez has been bound to a wheelchair. However, like Huston, his accident has not stopped him.

“After I had the wreck and was taken to the OU Medical Center, my right lung collapsed,” Domingez said. “I was in a coma for a month and a half. I never thought that I would be the one who was in a wheel chair.”

After he was introduced, Huston began his presentation by describing his accident. Huston was water skiing with his family when his legs became caught in the propeller of their boat.

“I could feel it,” Huston said. “All the chaos around me turned into a deadly silence and the eastern Oklahoma water turned bright red — like a scene from the movie, ‘Jaws.’”

Doctors attempted to save both Huston’s legs, but bone disease forced them to amputate his right leg.

It was in that terrifying moment, Huston said, that he knew he had a choice. He could stay and fight or go home.

Huston described his inward struggle with the questions he was faced with. He struggled with questions like “Why did this happen to me?” “What did I do wrong?” and “Why do I deserve this?”

After the accident, Huston became addicted to painkillers. One day, Huston said, his whole body went numb; he thought he had overdosed.

It was through his struggles that Huston realized he wanted to do something with his life and make an impact on others.

Huston’s story — featured in “Sports Illustrated,” “Wall Street Journal” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul” — continued with his career as a psychotherapist and clinical director at the Amputee Resource Center in California. He used his experience to help patients cope with their disabilities.

However, Huston’s story did not end there.

Huston would later set the world record for the “Summit America” expedition. The journey required Huston to climb to the highest elevation of all 50 states.

He completed the journey in 66 days, 22 hours and 47 minutes, beating the first record by 35 days.


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