Local Soldier Gives Gift of Life

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 2, 2006

One of the greatest gifts that one can give is the gift of life. On Thursday, one Fluvanna County soldier is doing just that. Robert Voigt is an Army Sergeant based in Germany. He puts his life on the line everyday for his country. He is once again putting his life on the line, this time by donating a kidney to save the life of his sister.

"It's something that I've always told her since we were little. If she needed one, I'd be there for her," said Robert Voigt.

The 34-year-old is preparing to go under the knife to donate one of his kidneys to breath new life into his sister.

"I knew he would be there for her though. Whatever it took, he'd make sure his sister would live," said their mother Joan Saunders.

Voigt's 31-year-old sister Kelly was born with one kidney. From early on, doctors told the family a replacement might be necessary. Now, that time has come.

"She's hanging in there from what I can tell. She's real tired but her spirits are up," said Voigt.

"You often say, 'Yes, I will lay down my life for you' but this is an example that he is--not only through the service for our country but [also by] giving a kidney for his sister," Saunders said.

On top of being a kidney donor, Voigt is a father of two and both he and his wife are enlisted. While he says he is not nervous, Mom can't say the same.

"It's my two children under the knife at the same time and that is a little nerve racking right there," said Saunders.

"I'm just hoping everything goes well and increases her ability to make it through each and every day," Voigt said.

While saving his sister's life is the obvious goal, Voigt says this should settle the score.

"I think this will make up for all of the mean things I did to her as a kid. It will put me back on the plus side with her," he said.

If all goes well, it should take Robert about 3 months to recover from the surgery. As for Kelly, doctors hope this kidney will last her at least ten years and maybe even the rest of her life.

Robert is scheduled to head back to Germany in late August. His wife still has another 5 months on her tour in Iraq.

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