Near-Death Experience Brings New Meaning to Comedian Wayne Soares' Work

Wayne Soares

COURTESY WAYNE SOARES - Wayne Soares

Last month Wayne Soares of East Falmouth admitted himself into Falmouth Hospital after experiencing what he believed were flu-related symptoms.

Five days later Mr. Soares was rushed into emergency surgery after it was discovered by medical staff that he was suffering diverticulitis, which is small, bulging pouches in the intestines.

“I went in on a Monday and on a Friday it broke,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience. It really was.”

Although the comedian, actor and motivational speaker has maintained a sense of humor about the experience—he joked that he plans on hosting a “That Was Close” party when he fully recovers—there is a realization on his part of how close he came to dying.

“I almost died. I was in the hospital for two weeks,” he said. “[Dr.] Garry Brake saved my life. He’s been a great friend of mine over the years, but I never thought I’d see him up close and personal like I did.”

While in the hospital he was supported by friends and family who called and visited, but he also drew inspiration from the many soldiers he has met over the past four years during visits to military bases throughout the world.

Tragedy of War

While his visits to those bases have provided laughter to those serving their country, they have also opened Mr. Soares’s eyes to the tragedy of war. He has met a number of veterans who have lost limbs, but perhaps the most difficult moment for him occurred this past December when he was entertaining troops at Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt, Germany.

On his first day there he befriended a soldier who had done two tours in Afghanistan and had been awarded two Purple Hearts. The next day Mr. Soares went back to visit the soldier only to find he had died of a brain hemorrhage.

“I’ve gone to see people who have lost limbs and are going through some real depression and struggling with life,” he said. “This is nothing I can’t overcome. I remember the nurses would ask me, ‘Wayne, are you bummed out? How is your mindset? Are you depressed?’ And I’d say, ‘Depressed? Are you kidding me. I’m happy to be alive.”

Although the two-week stint in the hospital did little to diminish his sense of humor, he acknowledged it did provide him with a new perspective on life. “You do a lot of thinking from 8 in the morning to 8 at night when you’re in the hospital,” he said.

Those thoughts, he said, mostly were focused on taking advantage of the opportunities, big and small, that life throws his way. “Go down to the beach or take a drive somewhere,” he said. “There are so many things you can do in this life. You should take advantage of it.”

For him that means taking the next steps to pursuing his dreams as an entertainer.

Although he has flirted with breaking through that barrier, he talked excitedly yesterday morning at Coffee Obsession about the upcoming slate of projects on his plate that could finally push him over the hump.

The first of those is taking place over the next few weeks as part of a television pilot that he hopes to sell to a regional cable outlet such as NESN or Comcast Sports.

While he was guarded about revealing too many secrets, Mr. Soares plays the host in the show that will feature a new guest every episode. For the first one, he has lined up former Boston Red Sox shortstop Rico Petrocelli.

Mr. Soares is also in the midst of taping a series of educational videos that MassMutual Northern New England will be using as part of a virtual interacting training series for its employees.

Terrance McMahon, the CEO of the company, said he tapped Mr. Soares for the new initiative because of his skill set. “He has a great voice and a great presence in front of the camera,” he said. “He brings a real personality to the training content and makes it fun and interactive.”

Will Attend Film Festival in Mystic

That series is expected to launch in September, the same month Mr. Soares will head down to Mystic, Connecticut, to serve as the emcee and conduct interviews of those involved in the film industry as part of the Moondance International Film Festival.

The festival’s director, Hans Hartman, was also complimentary of Mr. Soares when explaining his rationale for using the talents of the Falmouth resident. “He is not one of those prima donna types of people that you meet and cringe when you start talking to him. He is the real deal and he gets it. He is a professional,” Mr. Hartman said.

He was confident in Mr. Soares’s ability to not only command the audience’s attention, but entertain them in a way that will only serve to help the festival. “He is a guy who knows how to work a crowd and he is fun, engaging and can engage people one-on-one or engage an entire crowd,” he said.

Toward the end of the year Mr. Soares will begin production on “Serenade,” the sequel to “Blind Pass” that was directed by Steve Tatone and starred Armand Assante (”American Gangster”), Ed Lauter (”Psych,” “Mulholland Falls”) and Danielle White, a singer who appeared on the reality TV show “American Juniors.”

In that movie, which premiered in February of this year in Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Soares played a small role in one scene as a bouncer at a jazz club. He was able to parlay that role into a larger one in “Serenade,” which is set to be filmed in Sarasota, Amsterdam and Greece.

Mr. Soares is also expecting to release his fourth book, an inspirational one titled “Stories That Make a Difference,” in the fall and will be returning to Fort Lewis to entertain troops serving at that military base in Washington.

Although that trip is still four months away, the 48-year-old Mr. Soares already has a good idea of what he will be talking about with the troops. “I now have a life-and-death story. I realized that it can be over in a second,” he said, snapping his fingers. “It’s all about taking advantage of every opportunity life puts in our way and doing it in a positive way.” 

To learn more about Wayne Soares visit his website here

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