Defeating most cancers helped Michael Henderson develop from lone wolf to chief of the Pak

This is sponsored content. M&F does not endorse the sites or products listed in this article.

If you've been to a bodybuilding show or fair in the last few years, chances are you've seen athletes and fans alike carrying a WOLFpak on their shoulders. These unique backpacks with patches that can be attached for personalization have been a huge hit and are rapidly growing in popularity. In the eyes of founder Michael Henderson, they are more than just something to transport items in, they are a form of expression and unity between a large group of people with like-minded goals. The people who proudly wear his product don't even call it a "backpack". In their eyes it is something else - a WOLFpak.

Courtesy of Michael Henderson

"When they call the product by the product name, it has so much value and I love seeing that because it gives me a sense of reward."

Just as every person who wears a WOLFpak has their own story, so does the name have their own story. Henderson once thought he was a lone wolf. The 26-year-old husband has started his business in recent years, but the WOLFpak mentality he lives came when he and his wife were able to take on responsibilities they didn't plan for.

“When I was 21, I had to adopt my sister. She was four years old at the time and was going through a path similar to what I had gone through when I was young and I had seen the result of that. I didn't want her to see that as a result."

Although they were college-age, his sister's adoption put both Henderson and his wife on the fast track to growing up. He credited this as a key moment in his character's development. Henderson credited this period in part for his personal and business growth. He was quite successful in the auto industry when that mentality was tested again in January 2019 when he received a call from a doctor.

"The doctor called me and said he had news. He said, "We don't have conclusive evidence, but it's very likely that you have cancer," Henderson said. "When this message reaches you, it will shake your world."

Michael Henderson was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer. This type of cancer was rare for a 45-year-old that he was at the time. However, he looked back with regret for ignoring the signs that could have prompted him to deal with the problems sooner. He shared a few signs he hopes others will consider in the future so they don't find themselves in a similar position.

“I had groin pain and lower back pain as soon as I got out of a vehicle. These are your lymph nodes that are inflamed and trying to tell you 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 that faced by Lance Armstrong. The associated unknown was initially his greatest concern.

“After that there was only one more stage and that's not a good result. My family and children were the first thing that came to my mind and it stayed with me through the weeks and months.

Leaving my wife of 25, not watching my daughters become women and my newborn son becoming a better version of me has been my biggest fear and my biggest challenge.”

Michael Henderson holds his young sonCourtesy of Michael Henderson

Treatments began immediately, but he faced a choice. Does he share his news with those around him or does he keep it to himself?

"As a private individual, I have chosen not to tell anyone outside of my internal family," he said. These included his wife, two daughters and son. He also told a best friend who was by his side. Henderson would continue in his full-time career while undergoing chemotherapy. These treatments lasted five hours a day and he had to undergo them five days a week. He offered a look at just how intense these treatments were that bodybuilding and fitness competitors could understand.

“Imagine the last few days of preparation when you have no energy, can't think and feel sick. w imagine if you felt like this for 12 weeks. It's like the last days of preparation combined with Covid.”

Michael Henderson can make this comparison because he also once tested positive for Covid. As for treatments, for treatment that day he would go to the hospital at 6:30 am, leave at 1:00 pm, drive two hours in Los Angeles, California traffic to get to work, and then would have to he still drive two more hours to go home. Rinse and repeat, day after day, for almost a year. When asked about the physical changes, he credited a resolution diet. He attributed his hair loss, which was already brief, to shaving his head, and when he lost his eyebrows, his daughters and wife painted eyebrows on him instead.

When he wasn't working and driving and undergoing chemotherapy, he'd be sitting in a tub of hot water at night, telling himself, "It's just a moment, it's not forever), getting as much sleep as he could on the couch, and got up the next morning. There was no motivation, just daily self-discipline to enforce treatments and daily commitments. On the weekends, he slept until Monday morning, when it was time to start over. He took this approach because he didn't want to receive sympathy from those around him. He would rather focus on preparing himself internally and relying on his inner lone wolf mentality to conquer what lay ahead and make progress every day.

“I was in a high-profile position at an automotive group with ten locations. I hate to say it like that, but I felt that if I had shared that, some of my opportunities would not have been presented to me.

"The Lone Wolf" maintained his role both at work and at home as he spent a year battling an enemy that has defeated many before him. As he was driving down 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 carotid artery.

"The chemo created the blood clot. thing could be done for fear it would move to a place where they could not get it. So it's still there today.”

Michael Henderson also explained that he sometimes woke up dizzy and struggled with dizziness. Ultimately, he would emerge victorious and is now cancer-free. Even in the midst of that fight, he received some of it, which has served 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. You're not having a bad day. I just got rid of all the drama and negativity."

Michael Henderson with his family on the Las Vegas StripCourtesy of Michael Henderson

Those who knew and supported Henderson throughout the process formed the inner circle, whom he credited with helping him stay strong. He spent as much time as he could with them, and during that time he realized that he hadn't been doing everything he wanted to do with his life and he decided to change that, effective immediately.

"I didn't immediately know what that meant or what it looked like. All I knew was that I didn't like that answer."

Henderson was very successful in his role in the automotive business and he was in the field for 25 years, but he felt there was more to him and he couldn't put his stamp on life by doing what he did in this area did . As he went through this physical battle with cancer, he thought about what making a name for himself would be like. All he knew was that he wanted to leave something to his family to continue a legacy. So he decided to start a brand.

Henderson used his more than four hours of driving time and free time to learn how companies like Amazon thrived and how brands grew, making this an educational time for the future entrepreneur. He also tried to come up with something different to stand out. While working out at the gym, he noticed a plain black duffel bag, and things began to fall into place shortly after. He had his ideas on how to make this bag better. He wanted to add pockets for books or a laptop, other pockets for gadgets, and even pockets for groceries. w he needed a name. Having that WOLF mentality to get through the illness and his inner circle, his “pak”. This is how WOLFpak was born.

Henderson felt connected to the fitness and bodybuilding crowd because he went to the Arnold Classic every year. He knew this lifestyle and he embraced it. The people who were in this community came together and they 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 had challenges of their own. The next step was how he could stand out from the crowd with his product.

Michael Henderson with his daughtersCourtesy of Michael Henderson

"My daughters had these hydroflasks and they put stickers all over them," he shared. "I asked them why they did it because it annoyed me. My daughter said it's what they do, so make it your own and how you express yourself."

That was the answer Henderson needed. But how do you do that with a backpack? He added Velcro to the front and began developing patches that could be added to allow each person to express themselves in their own way with their own WOLFpak.

The results speak for themselves as WOLFpak's are worn by many fitness enthusiasts as well as some of the biggest stars in bodybuilding such as 2020 Olympia 212 winner Shaun Clarida. You'll likely see more of them in their full glory at the 2022 Olympia Expo in Las Vegas, NV over the weekend of December 15-18. Henderson and the WOLFpak will be there to meet and show support for all pack members aligned with their beliefs and mission.

This success helps him build a legacy that can be passed on for generations to come. t only his daughters work for the company, but also his younger sister. His mission now is to inspire as many people as possible because he remembers the feeling of fear and unease that came from his battle with cancer. He hopes to help others write their own success stories by sharing his.

“There are athletes who touch people they've never met through social media and they can pull people out of the darkness. I hope and believe that this story will do the same. I feel it is my duty to share my story, especially if it can help someone else. I hope they do what I found for me. trust your instincts Make your mark.”

Follow @wolfpak.official on Instagram.

This is sponsored content. M&F does not endorse the sites or products listed in this article.

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