MARSHALL - The Voigt twins came into this world early and survived a rough patch. Their trials forced their family to learn how to take care of premature babies and opened their eyes to all the March of Dimes does.
The family's success story has made them this year's Marshall ambassador family for the March of Dimes March for Babies, which will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Marshall Middle School.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. and many of families, business leaders and community members will walk to raise funds for babies born early and to support programs that help families have healthy pregnancies.
Photo by Anna Haecherl-Smith
Today, Oliver, left, and Henry Voigt are healthy and active 4-year-olds. The Voigt family was chosen to be the 2014 March of Dimes ambassadors for Marshall.
"There is nothing that I am more proud of than having the opportunity to be the ambassador family because what they gave to us," said the boys' mother, Lindsey Voigt. "Now I'd like to give back to them."
At age 4, one could never tell by looking at the Voigt twins that they were born six weeks early.
"I was airlifted out at 22 weeks with premature contractions," Voigt said. "I literally went to work that morning and didn't come home until December (when the boys were born). I lived in the hospital for three months in Sioux Falls."
Henry and Oliver were born six weeks early. Oliver came first he was small but healthy. Henry came next, but his lungs were deflated, and he was taken straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"March of Dimes does a great job with educational material when you are in the hospital," Voigt said. Even though their extended stay at the hospital caused a lot of concern and stress, the time spent there gave the family "time to understand and be educated on how to take care of a premature baby," Voigt said. "They provide a lot of information that helps you understand what you are dealing with."
"We were blessed. After three weeks, they were able to be released," Voigt said. "But I met other families there, and their child had been in there for four or five months. It's scary. My heart goes out to the other families that were there."
To give back, Voigt joined the committee that plans the annual March of Babies last year.
"I was ready to do something to give back," Voigt said. "And this was one opportunity that was definitely close to my heart."
Voigt talked about all the support and education she received while in the hospital from March of Dimes.
"I knew what the March of Dimes was," Voigt said. "You know, you contribute, you know what they do... but you don't really know what they do for families and the community until you see it first-hand."
"I never knew the impact they had on families until I was one of those families," Voigt added.
Since the March for Babies campaign began in 1970, the March of Dimes has raised more than $2.3 billion to help support premature babies and their families. The organization also provides education and outreach to all families on how to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
"I'm blessed. I'm nothing short of thankful," Voigt said. "It's the hope as well as the support and education... I think that is part of the reason you come out of this OK."