N.C. Baptist leaders facing health challenges
November 30 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR staff

N.C. Baptist leaders facing health challenges | Friday, Nov 30, 2001

Friday, Nov 30, 2001

N.C. Baptist leaders facing health challenges

By Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane BR staff Three prominent N.C. Baptists appear to be recovering from serious illnesses, while a missionary with ties to the Tar Heel state is fighting for his life.

Norman Wiggins, the president of Campbell University in Buies Creek, has reportedly told school officials that doctors have given him a clean bill of health. Wiggins was diagnosed in May with lymphoma, a tumor affecting the lymph nodes.

Charles Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, is preaching again after getting treatment for a serious form of cancer.

Mark Corts, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, hopes to return to the pulpit this month. He has been out since the summer with a serious heart condition.

Tom Ogburn, a N.C. native and former pastor of Westwood Baptist in Cary, is seriously ill in a Dallas, Texas, hospital. Ogburn, who is now a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship missionary, developed flu-like symptoms in early November that were later diagnosed as gallstones and severe pancreatitis.

Wiggins and Corts are former presidents of the Baptist State Convention (BSC). Page was a candidate for BSC president this year but withdrew when his cancer reoccurred.

Wiggins The Fayetteville Observer reported Nov. 24 that Wiggins recently told school officials that he is free of cancer. Wiggins told the officials that he received a clean bill of health after a recent physical, the newspaper reported.

A Campbell spokesman declined to comment on the report. Wiggins declined to be interviewed on the subject, the spokesman said. He is on sabbatical until January.

Frederick Taylor, chairman of the university's board of trustees, told the newspaper that Wiggins has been on campus and at trustee meetings.

"He is looking better than he has been in a long time," Taylor said to the Fayetteville Observer. "Everybody's happy that he is doing well."

Page Page was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma - cancer of the bone marrow - in May 1996. He went though months of treatment and two stem cell bone marrow transplants in 1997, and the disease went into remission.

In October, Page learned the cancer was back. He went to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he said he was given "really strong chemotherapy."

"They took my hair away from me but that's all right, it'll grow back," Page said in a telephone interview.

Page said that during his treatments his kidneys began to fail. His heart rate went down to 21, forcing doctors to put in a pacemaker. He got pneumonia. He was in and out of the hospital's intensive care unit.

"I had some really rough spots in October and November, but the Lord is good and He saw me through it," Page said.

Page said his wife, Sandra, has been by his side through the ordeal. "That's been a blessing," he said.

Page is back working full-time and was in the pulpit on Nov. 18. He will go back to Arkansas in January for an evaluation.

"The counts that are supposed to be going down are going down," he said. "We won't really know until they do another bone marrow biopsy in January."

Page said he is getting stronger every day.

"I'm grateful for all the prayers," he said. "I think it was probably the deepest valley I've been through, but I discovered the Lord was in the valley."

Corts Corts was at the beach in June when he was hospitalized in Wilmington with heart problems. He was getting ready to check out and return home when his heart stopped.

He remained in the hospital for several days. The church set up a recorded message to provide callers with daily updates on his condition.

Corts' secretary, Fran Pugh, said his condition is improving.

"He is going to start preaching part-time in December," she said. "Doctors are very pleased with his progress considering, especially, the seriousness of the episode he had in June."

Ogburn Ogburn was initially hospitalized for a week to get his pancreas well enough for surgery. Emergency surgery was required about midnight on Nov. 25 after infection developed in the fluid around his pancreas.

Additional surgery was performed Nov. 28 and more may be necessary. Due to other complications, additional surgery hasn't been performed.

Ogburn is being kept semi-comatose in an Intensive Care Unit for the next two weeks. Doctors say life-threatening complications are a distinct possibility. Recovery could take several months if Ogburn does well.

Concerned friends can access a special Web site for updates on his condition at http://www.caringbridge.com/tx/tomogburn/.

Ogburn and his wife, Beth, are former missionaries to Thailand, and currently work as mission and prayer coordinators with CBF through an office in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

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11/30/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge and Steve DeVane , BR staff | with 0 comments
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