This is sponsored content. M&F does not endorse the websites or products listed in this article.
If you’ve attended a bodybuilding trade show or expo in the past few years, you’ve probably seen athletes and fans carrying a WOLFpak on their shoulders. These unique backpacks with patches can be placed for personalization have been a big hit and are gaining popularity at a rapid pace. In the eyes of founder Michael Henderson, they are more than something to carry things in, they are a form of expression and unity among a large group of like-minded people. People who proudly wear his product don’t even call it a “backpack”. It is, in their eyes, something different – a WOLFpak.
“When they call the product by the name of the product, it has so much value, and I love seeing that play out because it gives me a sense of reward.”
Just as each person who wears a WOLFpak has their own story, the name has its own story. Henderson once thought of himself as a lone wolf. The 26-year-old husband started his business in recent years, but the WOLFpak mentality he lives in came when he and his wife were able to take on responsibilities they never expected to take on .
“At 21, I had to adopt my sister. She was four years old at the time, and she was following a similar path that I took at a young age, and I had seen the result. I didn’t want her to see that being her result.
Even though they were college-aged, his sister’s adoption put Henderson and his wife on the fast track to adulthood. He credited this as a key moment in his character’s development. Henderson attributed this period in part to his personal and professional growth. He had great success in the auto industry when that mentality was tested again in January 2019 when he received a phone call from a doctor.
“The doctor called me and told me he was going to let me know. He said “we don’t have strong evidence, but it’s very likely that you have cancer,” Henderson said. “When this news hits you, it rocks your world.”
Michael Henderson was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer. This type of cancer was rare for a 45-year-old man, which he was at the time. However, he looked back with regret at having ignored the signs that might have led him to look into the issues sooner. He shared some signs that he hopes others will heed in the future so they don’t find themselves in a similar position.
“I had pain in my groin and I had pain in my lower back as soon as I got out of a vehicle. It’s your lymph nodes that are inflamed and trying to tell you that something is wrong.
The cancer had reached his lymph nodes and spread to his chest. Henderson shared that his form of cancer was similar to what Lance Armstrong had to deal with. The unknown that came with that was what became his biggest concern initially.
“There was only one stage after that, and it’s not a good result. My family and my children were the first thing that came to mind about this, and it stuck with me throughout those weeks and months.
Leaving my wife of 25 years, not seeing my daughters grow into women and my newborn son grow into a better version of me was my biggest fear and biggest challenge.
Treatments started immediately, but he had to make a decision. Does he share his news with those around him or does he keep it to himself?
“As a private person, I chose not to tell anyone outside of my internal family,” he said. This included his wife, two daughters and son. He also told a best friend about it, who came to his side. Henderson would continue to work in her full-time career while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. These treatments took five hours a day and he had to undergo them five days a week. He offered insight into the intensity of these treatments that bodybuilding and fitness competitors could relate to.
“Imagine the last two days of prep where you have no energy, you can’t think, you feel sick. Now imagine feeling that for 12 weeks. It’s like the last days of prep combined with Covid .
Michael Henderson can make that comparison because he also tested positive for Covid at one point. As for treatments, he would go to the hospital for daytime treatment at 6:30 a.m., leave at 1:00 p.m., drive to Los Angeles, California for two hours to get to work, and then he would have to drive two more. hours to get home. Rinse and repeat, day after day for almost a year. Asked about the physical changes, he credited a resolution diet. He justified his hair loss, which was already short, by shaving his head, and when he lost his eyebrows, his daughters and wife painted eyebrows for him instead.
When he wasn’t working, driving, or having chemo, he’d sit in a hot tub at night thinking, “It’s just a moment, this ain’t forever,” slept as much as he could on the couch and up the next morning. There was no motivation, only day-to-day self-discipline to push through treatments and day-to-day responsibilities. On weekends, he slept until Monday morning when it was time to start over. He took this approach because he did not want to receive sympathy from those around him. He prefers to focus on his internal preparation and rely on that inner lone wolf mentality to get through what lies ahead and progress each day.
“I held a leading position in an automotive group that had ten sites. I hate to say it this way, but I felt like if I shared this, some of my opportunities wouldn’t have been presented to me.
“The Lone Wolf” retained his roles both at work and at home as he battled for a year against an enemy who took many before him. As he descended the home stretch, he woke up one morning with pain, redness and swelling in his neck. This was attributed to a blood clot in his jugular.
“The chemo created the blood clot. Nothing could be done because of the fear that he would move to a place where they couldn’t get him. So he is still there today.
Michael Henderson also explained that he sometimes wakes up dizzy, feeling dizzy. In the end, he would emerge victorious from the battle and he is now cancer free. Even in the midst of this struggle, he received something from it that serves him well to this day.
“It was a great wake-up call to recalibrate my thinking in life. Most people think they’re having a bad day. They’re not having a bad day. I just got rid of all that drama and of this negativity.
The people who knew and supported Henderson through the process made up the inner circle he credited with keeping him strong. He spent as much time as he could with them, and it was around this time that he realized he hadn’t done everything he wanted to do with his life, and he has decided to change this, with immediate effect.
“I didn’t know what it meant or looked like right away. I just knew that I didn’t like that answer.
Henderson was very successful in his role in the auto industry, and he’s been in that field for 25 years, but he felt like there was more to him, and he couldn’t make his mark in life doing what he was doing in this area. . As he went through this physical battle with cancer, he pondered what his mark would look like in his mind. He just knew he wanted to leave something to his family to continue a legacy. So he chose to create a brand.
Henderson used his four-plus-hour driving time and his free time to learn how companies like Amazon have succeeded and how brands have been able to grow, making it a period of education for the would-be entrepreneur. He was also trying to find something different so he could stand out. When he was working out at the gym, he noticed a basic black gym bag, and things started falling into place soon after. He had his ideas on how he could improve this bag. He wanted to add pockets for books or a laptop, other pockets for devices, and even compartments for food. Now he needed a name. Have this WOLF mentality to get through the disease and those around you, your “pak”. Thus, WOLFpak was created.
Henderson felt a connection with the fitness and bodybuilding public because he went to the Arnold Classic every year. He knew this lifestyle and he adopted it. People who were part of this community came together and had common interests. They also supported each other, like Henderson’s family, or his pak supported him. This would become his target audience, as many in the fitness community have faced challenges themselves. The next step was to figure out how he could stand out from the rest of the pack with his product.
“My girls had these hydroflasks, and they put stickers all over it,” he explained. “I asked them why they did that because it bothered me. My daughter said that’s what they do, that’s how they make it their own and how they express themselves.
It was the answer Henderson needed. But, how do you do that with a backpack? He put velcro on the front and started creating patches that could be added so that everyone with their own WOLFpak could express themselves in their own way.
The results speak for themselves as WOLFpaks are worn by many fitness enthusiasts as well as some of the biggest stars in bodybuilding, like 2020 Olympia 212 winner Shaun Clarida. You’ll likely see even more on full display at Olympia Expo 2022 in Las Vegas, NV, the weekend of December 15-18. Henderson and the WOLFpak will be there to meet and show support for all pack members who align with their beliefs and mission.
This success helps him establish a legacy that can be passed on to future generations. Not only do his daughters work for the company, but his younger sister does as well. His mission now is to inspire as many people as possible because he remembers the feeling of fear and discomfort that went through his battle with cancer. He hopes to help others create their own success stories by sharing his.
“There are athletes who reach out to people they never meet through social media, and they can bring people out of the dark. I hope and believe this story will be too. I think it It’s my duty to share my story, especially if it can help someone else. I hope they do what I found worked for me. Trust your instincts. Leave your mark.”
Follow @wolfpak.official on Instagram.
This is sponsored content. M&F does not endorse the websites or products listed in this article.