From the minute he was born it was declared that Brandon Paul Voigt was named Angel, initially because his parents, who were expecting a baby girl, did not have a name for him.
His siblings chose his name in a secret ballot. It seems the name Angel was appropriate because he was destined to join the choir of angels in heaven.
Many remember Brandon for his life-giving positive attitude and his amazing sleight of hand when it came to magic tricks. Some may even say that his gender surprise at birth was a glimpse into his magical prowess. However, remembering Brandon was not a difficult thing to do.
Brandon passed away on September 11 2016 after battling cancer for four years. His mother, Claremont resident, Sandi du Toit and his brother Gareth Fester have decided to raise funds for the Oncology Unit of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to honour his memory.
Sandi and Gareth created a fund-raiser page on Back-a-buddy to raise money for the hospital and honour Brandon’s memory as they celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday, May 1 without him.
Sandi said Brandon dreamt of performing his magic tricks at the Oncology Unit of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to enrich the lives of the children at the hospital and help them forget about their battle with cancer for a bit.
His desire to do this was spurred on by the fact that the hospital saved his life when he was six years old and went into a coma with meningococcal septicaemia. The hospital staff saved him thereby gifting the family 13 more years with Brandon. Although he hoped to perform for the children at the hospital, before he died, his pain and treatment did not allow him to accomplish this goal.
His family, including his dad, stepmom and siblings, spent most days and nights with him at Vincent Pallotti Hospital where everyone got to know Brandon. Not only through his positivity, but his attitude and his magic tricks which he would perform for nurses and doctors who would beg him to reveal his secrets.
“He started learning magic with cards for his cousins who are from the UK. It kept his mind busy during chemo, treatments and times at home in bed. His sleight of hand was phenomenal. The older he got, the more he realised the impact it had on others.
“During a Reach for a Dream Foundation event in 2015 he was the magician/entertainer who would walk around and performed magic tricks for the guests before the event started. While in hospital, staff all knew Brandon and wanted him to do magic. He spent so much time in hospital, he would say the only units he did not spend time in were the paediatric unit, the maternity ward and the women’s unit,” said Sandi.
Sandi said Brandon hated going to sleep as he was scared that he would die and then would not have a chance to say goodbye to everyone. When he was with her, she would sit up with him and play card games at all hours day and night, which allowed Brandon to speak about how he felt.
“The two of us would play cards, listen to music and during those times he could let go and talk about anything. I was very blessed.”
“He brought everyone together and taught them to live. Live, live, live because you don’t know if you have tomorrow! We do what we do to honour his memory. He wanted his story to be told, to give hope to others,” said Sandi.
If anyone would like to know more about Brandon’s story, or would like to donate to the cause, visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/
champion/project/raising-funds-on-behalf-of-brandon-paul-vo for more information.