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vibram bikila sale ´╗┐Amputee Todd Huston has reached the highest points in all To understand Huston it helps to know that he had a rough go of it from the start. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, which made it difficult for him to eat. He had his first of several operations at six months to repair the cleft palate, and at two years he had the first operation to repair the lip. But all of this paled in comparison to what followed. Huston was 14 that humid summer day on Lake Tenkiller, near his home in Tulsa. He was bobbing in the water after a ski run when the family motorboat slipped into reverse. Before anyone realized it, Huston's legs were in the propeller. His father, Bill, grabbed every available towel, and Todd's little brother Scott, who had never driven a boat before, flung the vessel at the nearest dock. Miracle of miracles, a doctor and nurse happened to be on the shore. The damage to Todd's left leg was severe; his right leg was nearly cut off. Doctors had to resuscitate him twice, once in the emergency room and once on the operating table. The doctors saved his life and both his legs, but the propeller had severed the sciatic nerve in his right leg, paralyzing his foot. There followed seven years of operations and pain. His left leg eventually healed, but an infection started in his right foot and grew doggedly worse. At one point, hoping to provide a steady supply of blood to failing skin grafts on his right leg, doctors sewed Todd's right arm to the back of the leg, splicing arm veins to those in his leg. Somehow Todd's family mother Barbara, younger brother Stephen and younger sister Jennifer in addition to Bill and Scott put a normal spin on life at home. "Todd never had the feeling he was handicapped in our family," says Bill, a straightforward man who runs his own wholesale lumber business. "Of course, he handled it all so well, we never had the feeling he had been hurt." Todd was 21 when he had the final operation on his leg. His useless right foot caused him constant pain, and the infection threatened to spread into his lymph nodes. This probably would not have killed him, but it would certainly have spread the pain throughout his body. He decided to have his right leg amputated below the knee. He also opted to remain conscious during the operation. "I wanted to feel I had control over the situation," he says. "Plus, if you're anesthetized, after surgery you can't eat. And I love to eat pizza." He has never regretted his decision to remove the leg. "Took care of the infection," he says. "Cleared it right up." Huston's campaign to climb the high points in all 50 states began almost by accident. In the summer of 1993 Huston, who has a master's degree in counseling psychology from National University in San Diego, was working as the clinical director of the NovaCare Amputee Resource Center in Brea, Calif., when a pamphlet arrived on his desk. A group from Chicago wanted to organize a 50 state high points expedition with several physically challenged people. Did Huston know anyone who would be interested? He did. And when the group's plans fell through the following spring, Huston decided to go it alone. No matter that he had never done any climbing. He trained by running. He ran 20 feet, then 100. He snapped legs. He fell. He sprawled across benches, exhausted. Within three months he could run 12 miles. He talked PacifiCare Insurance into buying him an $8,000 climbing leg complete with a shock absorption system and a Vibram boot sole ("It goes squishhh when you walk," Huston says). He joined a tony health club with a climbing wall and other noteworthy perks ("The women are phenomenal"). He talked Whit Rambach, a guide originally hired for the Chicago project, into coming along with him. He talked sponsors into supplying money, from nickel and dime checks to $40,000 from John Shanahan, the CEO of Hooked on Phonics. Huston talked his parents into providing their blessing and the family pickup truck, in which he and Rambach bombed about the country, covering 35,000 miles altogether. Huston possesses the two essential tools of the empty pocketed adventurer: charm and pigheadedness. Hardest of all, Huston talked himself up some daunting mountains. Sure, there were some yuks during the quest. Conquering Florida's high point Britton Hill, 345 feet entailed a 30 yard walk. Summiting Delaware's Ebright Azimuth meant dashing out to the middle of a busy road. The high points of Tennessee, both Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia were notched in a day. "Remember, we said high points," says Huston. "We didn't say mountains."