A retired Maryland police officer gave a piece of herself to save the life of her former partner. Stanley Barsch from Middletown, Maryland found out he had polycystic kidney disease in 2002. His mom, who also had the disease was in need of a transplant. “I went through all the testing, and in the final phase I found out I too had the same disease,” Barsch told Liftable.
“It was devastating, but from the aspect that I was trying to save my mother’s life and wasn’t able to provide her the gift of life that I desperately wanted. She ended up on dialysis until 2005 until she got a cadaver kidney, and she passed away in 2017 with a weak heart and sepsis.” He added.
Barsch revealed that the genetic disorder caused fluid-filled cysts to grow inside his kidneys. The organs had swelled to 15 to 20 pounds each, the average kidney weighs 0 .25 pounds. “The massive cysts caused my function to drop steadily over the past couple years. I started losing a lot of my energy noticeably in the past few years. This past December I entered stage 5 kidney failure, and with 17% function and dropping I desperately needed a kidney.” He said.
Barsch posted on his Facebook account looking for a donor. Without telling him, his former partner in the police force, Megan Ambrose, underwent testing to see if she was a match. The results showed she was 100% compatible.
So she planned a little surprise to break the news to Barsch. She invited her former partner and his wife over to her home on February 14, which is both Valentine’s Day and National Donor Day. She then handed them a handmade card that read, “So I heard urine need of a kidney … want mine???… Turns out that we are a perfect match, not only on the job but in blood and organs, too. You always had my back on the road and off. Now you can have my kidney.”
Barsch burst into tears and both he and his wife embraced Ambrose in a tight hug. As it turns out, Ambrose knew she was a match for Barsch in the middle of January but wanted to first talk it over with her husband and family.
“Later in January she asked if me and my wife Jessica would meet with her and her husband Chris. We didn’t know if she wasn’t going to be able to do it, wasn’t a great match, was scared to do it or what. We didn’t know what to expect.” Barsch revealed.
“There are no words that do our partnership justice. You experience things with your partner that you can’t really explain. … He’s my ride or die.” Ambrose told PEOPLE.
The procedure was done on May 14. In a Facebook post Barsch said it was not only a success, the surgeon declared that Ambrose’s kidney was beautiful. “The kidney is functioning normally. We are happy.” said transplant surgeon Dr. Seyed Ghasemian.
“We were always close, now we are one. We are bonded for life, she is more than a sister that I never wanted.” Barsch said.