December 2018 Faces of The First Tee Wyatt and Wynston Rownd
The Rownd brothers drive forward in the face of adversity
December’s Faces of The First Tee are brothers, each living with unique challenges at the hands of a merciless disease – one brother, the diagnosed, and the other, a supportive care taker and friend.
In March of 2018, 9 yr old avid athlete Wynston Rownd attended his introductory First Tee Player class at Grand Ridge in Luling, LA, where the Rownd family resides. In tow was Wynston’s then 12 year old brother, Wyatt. Class began as usual, except Coach Perry Faulkner noticed that Wyatt didn’t join his younger brother on the golf course. He stayed off to the side of the green and remained seated to watch. Coach Perry approached Wyatt and asked him if he wanted to join the class, an invitation Wyatt readily and enthusiastically accepted. As Wyatt stood up and walked to join the others on the putting green, Coach Perry noticed that his gait was slow and a bit labored. What Coach Perry didn’t know at the time was that as a 13 month old, Wyatt was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative, fatal muscular disease that has no cure.
Unfortunately, playing sports does not come easily for Wyatt. His muscles are slowly getting weaker with age, which makes the repeated swinging of a golf club, walking the course, and even standing for long periods of time, exhausting. But he WANTS to be able to do this. He fights hard to not let the disease stop him. Like all boys, he wants to be able to play like his friends and his brother.
Social butterfly and math lover Wynston, whom mom Jessica considers Wyatt’s biggest cheerleader, has played and will attempt any sport there is to play. And with every athletic adventure Wynston begins, he takes Wyatt along for the ride. “Wynston supports Wyatt in everything he does while still enjoying things that he loves. He loves to include his brother in everything,” say mom Jessica Rownd. “While some say he is not affected by his brother’s disease, he truly is.”
Wyatt goes to multiple appointments, which as he says, gets in the way of having fun. “When The First Tee came to Grand Ridge, we were blessed to have a small group of kids participate who included Wyatt. No one asked why he couldn’t come every time, they just treated him like all the others. Being a part of a group makes Wyatt feel ‘normal,’ which life is not always for us,” says Jessica. Wyatt makes the best out of the time he gets to play with his brother and his friends. Recently, Wyatt received a service dog named Wrigley. Wrigley is a constant companion he can lean on when he takes a break, while others continue playing.
“We know that God blessed us with these two complementary personalities. Wynston will do anything to make sure Wyatt is included and having fun. Though they fight like all siblings do, they are best friends and couldn’t imagine life without each other.”
To learn more about Wyatt and to follow his progress, visit his web page at https://www.caringbridge.org/.
About The Faces of The First Tee
The Faces of The First Tee is a new platform to recognize and award current participants who embody the criteria set forth in the Mission of The First Tee. The Faces of the First Tee demonstrate impeccable character, embody one or more of the Nine Core Values, and faithfully practice one or more of the Nine Healthy Habits. This award is not based on athletic ability, but rather a displayed grasp of The First Tee curriculum. This recognition will be awarded to one participant monthly for a period of 12 months (following the school year calendar, beginning in September). Advantages of being selected as one of The Faces of The First Tee include:
- A professional portrait taken by New Orleans Snapshots’ photographer and First Tee of Greater New Orleans’ Board President Andrew Cohoon
- A month-long, dedicated web site feature story including the portrait and a biography describing the criteria for which the participant was selected
- A featured headline in our newsletters, Home on the Range and Tuesday’s Talk of The Tee
- Social Media promotion on Facebook and Instagram
- A certificate of recognition
Congratulations to those of you who have been selected as one of The Faces of The First Tee!