Benz Update

August 11, 1991

The Rev. Bert Benz's condition continues to improve and has been upgraded from critical to serious.

Doctors are pleased with his progress, said Kay Yeltin, spokeswoman for the Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky, in Lexington, where the Hampstead minister has been a patient for nearly a month.

Benz, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, has chronic myelogenic leukemia. The 47-year-old received a bone marrow transplant from his daughter, Lauren, 12.

"The reverend has been moved from the intensive care unit," Yeltin said Friday. "He's back in his old room in the bone marrow transplant unit and is able to communicate with family and staff here."

All infections are clearing, she said, and he is off the ventilator. Benz had been battling pneumonia.

A biopsy performed Monday showed early signs of engraftment of the transplant, said Dr. Jean Henslee-Downey. Doctors plan another biopsy this week.

The congregation here is continuing nightly prayer vigils in members' homes, said Peggy Tidwell, whose husband, Rudy, is interim pastor at theHampstead church. The Tidwells visited Benz and his family last weekend in Kentucky.

"The family is exhausted but optimistic," she said. "My husband told Bert to hurry back. There's lots to do."

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