The Smithson’s cancer journey began on September 2, 2022, when their son, Walker, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He was 14 years old at the time and had just started his freshman year of high school. Two months later on November 2, 2022, his father, DJ, was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. There is no cure for advanced kidney cancer; it is considered terminal.
Walker has been put on a three year treatment plan at Children's Hospital of Alabama, where they have spent much of their time the past 6 months while he receives chemotherapy. DJ just started treatments at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN. He is receiving intravenous immunotherapy and takes a chemical pill to hopefully slow down the mass that is attached to his trachea.
Overall, they consider themselves very blessed and their faith is strong. They are just an ordinary family dealing with extraordinary circumstances. They’ve met a lot of wonderful people and the care that both Walker and DJ have received thus far is unmatched. They are thankful for all the doctors, nurses, and staff at both facilities who make the visits bearable. Mom, Wendy, said they couldn't make it through a situation like this without the hand of God, as well as support from others who they consider their "Army.”