How it all started
In 2003 I found myself depress and working in a job that I didn't like, and to be honest I saw a side of the business world that I did not like. I was 23 years old, 100 pounds over weight, smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. One day I woke up and decided to change my life. I quit smoking, lost 100 pounds and decided to follow my dream of being a professional athlete completing 18 ironmans, including winning the hits triathlon 140.6 series in Naples. After a few years racing, I saw a side of the sport that I wish I have never seen.
Since I was a kid I wanted to make an impact, some way some how. In 2014 I started thinking about doing something to do but I did not know what or how. That year I added to my uniform “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Right around that time we were thinking about extending the family. I was going to therapy on that time for a few reasons: 1- work on my baggage so I would not pass that to my son. 2- working on my frustrations on the athletic industry. 3- working on my purpose. I remember one day, I expressed to my therapist my ideas of doing something to help make an impact. She said to me: "The best way to create and in impact is with kids". 2015 came along and I was sure of only one thing, I wanted to be a Dad, and we got pregnant at first try. Luke was so ready to come.....
Because my wife is a great triathlete, with a state champion title in Brazil and me racing professionally, and our enormous dedication, people were expecting our son to be a great athlete, but since day one we already said: "He will be whatever he wants to be, we are not imposing anything just because we are athletes. Our goal is for him is to be happy and be himself."
An athlete is not only this definition (here). To be an athlete, in my view is someone always pushing the limits to overcome a challenge, always learning, and making the best of every situation, because life is just like an Ironman. You go thru ups and downs, you you fight adversity, and in the end is not about winning. Is about overcoming your own limits. Luke was born with a rare muscle condition called nemaline myopathy, affecting the skeletal muscle making it hard to eat, breath, walk and talk. H, was born already overcoming his challenge, so yes people were right. Luke is an amazing athlete full of life (light);
We spent 84 days in the NICU and 40 days in the PICU. During this period I saw a lot of support for moms, and not a lot for dads, and I was lost and for a while I thought, why 2 athletes have a kid with a rare muscle condition. I remember thinking how ironic all this was, and not knowing what to do to help him.
I started to realized, why not me? There is a lot I can do for Luke and others. Everything happens for a reason and. I realized that is not ironic, its actually a perfect connection between us. I realized I could also help other families, therefore I did not think twice. Months after Luke was born, I announced my retirement from racing professionally and transform my coaching business into this non profit organization and I became a Dad on a mission.
Why go Luke Wygand? During the NICU stay the #goLukeWygand was created with many collective meditations and many people all over the world praying for Luke using the #goLukeWygand.
Why foundation? Because LOVE is the foundation for everything in life! Why fatherhood rocks? Well the universal music language is love and Luke and I have a great connection with music and we both absolutely love rock and roll. Besides, for me, there is no other type of music more empowering that Rock and roll. So welcome to the Go Luke Wygand Foundation INC, where "Fatherhood is like living in paradise city, with rock playing out loud and nothing else matters!
May the force be with you,
Richard Wygand and Luke Wygand-Founders