Soldier Gives Gift of Life

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 18, 2006

It's a follow to a story we first brought to you two weeks ago. A Fluvanna soldier donated a kidney to save the life of his younger sister.

Robert Voigt and Kelly Gulat have had a lifelong pact. Gulat was born with one kidney and doctors told her from an early age that she one day might need a replacement. That day was two weeks ago and her brother kept his promise.

"He's always been there for me, always looked out for me," said kidney recipient Gulat.

For years growing up, Gulat and Voigt have had a tight bond, but now that bond shares a kidney.

"It's been a steady progression getting better and better each day. It's a little slow because it has to heal...It's been amazing actually," Gulat said.

"Just to see her getting around doing everything she needs to do. It's really good to see that," Voigt said.

Two weeks ago, Voigt, an Army Sergeant and father of two, donated one of his kidneys to his younger sister. Since childhood, Voigt promised that if the day came that Gulat needed a kidney replacement, he would be there.

"It's definitely, definitely a joy just to see how much better she is doing," Voigt said.

"I think it says a lot how much my kids love each other," said mother Joan Saunders.

Besides a spike in fever that re-hospitalized Voigt, the procedure went smoothly. Now all that remains are a few scars and some lonely organs.

"He keeps calling wanting to talk to his kidney," Gulat said.

"I always tell her, put her phone up to her kidney so my kidney can talk to the other kidney," Voigt said.

While everyone says the support of family and friends played a major role, Gulat and Voigt say it was their love for each other that really made this possible.

"I think you are just more thankful for every day and thankful your children are there," Saunders said.

"Inside it makes me feel good that I was finally able to do something that really mattered in life," said Voigt.

"He's my hero," Gulat said.

After the first report on this story, the Charlottesville Newsplex received a very uplifting email from Robert Voight's wife. Tina Voight is also a soldier and she is stationed in Iraq right now. She wrote: "I love my husband and I am very proud of what he's doing. I think for our troops who are your reading audience [online], they will find this to be a real morale booster."

Recovery time doesn't last too long. Voigt reports back to Germany on August 25 and Gulat is focusing on a mid September return to her job at the Fluvanna County Correctional Center.

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