A Letter from Lesa Hudson - 12/16/22

Please allow me to introduce my nephew and share our personal family journey. Wayne Smothers is the son of my sister, Lawann Smothers and the late Ken Smothers, and the brother of Stephanie Smothers (my niece). Many of you have met Lawann and Stephanie at our shows. Wayne is 43 years old, and is the father of 2 children, Kristian (age 16) and Katie (age 8). They live in Darlington, SC. Wayne is a hardworking humble man who dearly loves his children and his family. He has worked hard all of his life, and finally in November 2021 Wayne was able to realize a dream come true by purchasing his first home. And in April 2022, he was excited to begin a new chapter with a new job.


And then…..(you know those proverbial words that signal life’s about to change on a dime…..)

During the summer of 2022, Wayne began experiencing digestive issues and pain. It was totally out of the blue, and thinking nothing of it as most of us would do, he continued working and living life as normal. But the symptoms persisted and continued to get worse until on August 5, 2022 he went to the ER at McLeod. After a few tests were run, the “atomic bomb” dropped on him and our family. We heard the C-word that our family had not heard since Wayne’s father – Ken – was diagnosed many years ago. Wayne had surgery on August 9, 2022 with the intent on removing the tumor in his colon, but the surgeon elected not to remove it because the cancer had spread beyond the colon.


Fast forward a few weeks, and after further testing, scans and appointments with his oncologist, it was confirmed…..Wayne has Stage IV colorectal cancer with a tumor the size of a grapefruit that has spread to his bladder and liver (6 – 7 lesions have been found). His treatment plan calls for an undetermined amount (at this point) of chemotherapy treatments which were originally scheduled to begin on October 11, 2022. However his treatments had to be postponed due to suffering an unexpected absess in his incision area. Emergency surgery was performed to clean the area. After a few more weeks of recovery, Wayne was finally able to begin his chemo on November 7, 2022, with treatments recurring every 2 weeks. The plan with chemo is to shrink the tumor so that surgery can be performed to remove the tumor. It is possible that more chemo and radiation will be needed after surgery. So while the journey to healing for Wayne has already been a rollercoaster, it is thankfully underway.


I know that many of you who are reading this have walked or are currently walking this same journey. It is amazing how many lives are touched by cancer. For Wayne, life has drastically changed for him in the span of a few months. Physically, he has lost a lot of weight, and suffers from fatigue, headaches, and loss of strength & appetite. So far though, he is tolerating the chemo with minimal side effects. And he is able to eat more and has recently gained some much needed weight. We are so thankful for this!! Emotionally, he & the family have been forced to think about things that most 43 year olds don’t even consider….things that I haven’t given thought to.


Wayne is not able to work right now and we don’t expect that he will be able to return to work for quite some time. But with the help of a very good Social Worker at McLeod Hospital in Florence, we have been able to get some financial help for Wayne. We are very grateful for that. But it won’t be enough to cover the high expenses of the treatments he will need now and in the future, as well as to continue to support his family.


In spite of all that is happening to my family, we know that God loves us and He always provides what we need. We don’t always understand why things like this happen. But He promises us that if we step out in faith, He will be there to see us through this. We are a God loving family, and we stand on this promise as we walk this journey with Wayne. We know that many of you believe that too.

If God leads you to stand with us on this journey, we will be eternally grateful for any help you can give.

Most importantly….we ask for your prayers.

Pray for Wayne that his body will heal and strengthen. Pray that he will continue to be able to tolerate the chemo with minimal side effects. Pray that the chemo will be successful at shrinking the tumors. Pray for his peace of mind and emotional well-being. Pray for Lawann & Stephanie as his primary caregivers. They need our love and support as much as Wayne. Pray for all of us in the family. Pray for Wayne’s medical team. 



Our family's home church is First Church of God in Darlington, SC.  Their website is www.fcgdarlington.net.  Debbie Anderson, whom you all know is my niece and Rick Strickland Band member, is the Church Secretary there. The church will be receiving a love offering for Wayne &  his family on December 18, 2022. 100% of each donation will go directly to Wayne. You can make a tax deductible donation as follows:

  1. By Cash or Check:  Make check payable to First Church of God, and in the Memo line write in Wayne Smothers. Mail check to First Church of God – 620 N. Main St. – Darlington SC 29532. Debbie will receive your donation and will send you a tax document.


  1. By Credit Card:  Go to our church website at https://fcgdarlington.churchcenter.com/giving. The giving portal is PC and mobile device friendly. Enter your donation amount. From the drop down menu, select Love Offering/Wayne Smothers Family. Be sure to complete the rest of the form so that you will receive your tax document.


The Love Offering option will remain open indefinitely on the church’s website so that you can donate beginning December 18 and beyond. Likewise, any cash or check donations will gladly be accepted at any time.


And finally, Wayne asked me to include the following: Please add somewhere in the letter a plea for them and their loved ones to get checked out so that potentially someone can avoid what I’m going through now.” At the age of 43, Wayne fell below the radar age-wise on having a routine colonoscopy. And his doctor confirmed that his tumor had been growing for a few years. Early detection is critical. Call your doctor and request a colonoscopy, especially if cancer runs in your family.


Thank you for taking time to read this letter, and for being there for us on this journey!

In God's Love,

Lesa Hudson