HAMPSTEAD — After 10 months of searching for a bone marrow donor to save his life, the Rev. Bert Benz will receive a transplant from his daughter July 19 in a Lexington, Ky., medical center.
Although the transplant was scheduled for July, Benz said it was moved up because the chemotherapy he has been taking to control his white blood-cell count has lost effectiveness.
He will give his last sermon June 30 at Faith Baptist Church before heading off to Lexington that afternoon with his family. If all goes well with the transplant, Benz could be back at the pulpit in 12 to 18 months, he said.
The transplant will give him a 40 percent chance of survival. Without the transplant, doctors have told him, he would live another two to four years.
Benz said he is glad to have the transplant scheduled but can't help feeling anxious as he arranges Social Security disability payments for his recovery or death benefits to his family should he not survive the transplant.
"You have to approach it from the standpoint you might not come back. That's sort of sobering, to say the least, but I'm foolish not to look at it that way," Benz said.
Between July 2 and July 19, when he receives a quart of bone marrow from his 12-year-old daughter, Lauren, Benz will undergo testing and about two weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.
The purpose of the treatments is to kill his cancerous marrow, which manufactures blood cells, and replace it with his daughter's healthy marrow.
Lauren turned out to be the best match after searches done here and in Florida.
Benz' small parish is trying to raise money toward the $50,000 in medical expenses not covered by his insurance. They have raised just over $16,000 so far.