Retired Police Officer Donating Kidney to Her Former Beat Partner: 'He's My Ride or Die'
A retired Montgomery County Police officer is giving her former beat partner the ultimate gift — life.
It all started in December, when Stanley Barsch, 41, revealed to his friends on social media that he was in desperate need of a new kidney.
In the post, Barsch, a father of three living in Middletown, Maryland, revealed he left the police force due to polycystic kidney disease — a hereditary condition, that claimed his mother’s life in 2017.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) causes many fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys. The disease can often change the shape of kidneys, making them much larger, which is the case for Barsch.
A normal kidney is about the size of a fist, while Barsch’s kidneys are the size of footballs, weighing at least 15 to 20 pounds each, he tells PEOPLE.
After he put out his plea on social media, Barsch was moved by the responses and his former colleague Megan Ambrose, 36, was the first to get tested.
“I didn’t even think twice about it,” Ambrose told PEOPLE emphatically.
Ambrose went in on Jan. 2 and six days later found out that she was a perfect match.
“They told me they wanted to transplant my left kidney,” Ambrose explained. “I couldn’t believe it. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”
Ambrose and Barsch sparked a bond in 2007 when she entered the police academy and Barsch was a lateral.
The duo began working the same beat together that year.
“There are no words that do our partnership justice,” Ambrose said describing one instance in which the two held a record for pulling over 43 cars in one day.
“You experience things with your partner that you can’t really explain.”
Ambrose later retired in 2012 after being involved in a near-fatal car crash. Barsch retired in 2016 after his kidneys began to fail.
Though they no longer worked together, their friendship never wavered.
“He is family and he needs help and if I’m able to help him I’m going to do it,” Ambrose explained.
After learning of the life-changing news, Ambrose decided to wait and tell Barsch three months before their surgery.
That date fell on Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day and none other than National Donor Day.
“I seriously had no idea,” Ambrose said, adding that it was the biggest coincidence of all.
When the big day came, Ambrose invited Barsch and his wife to her home.
“I got construction paper from my kids and started writing the letter,” Ambrose said of the note, which has since gone viral.
“I thought she may have gotten cold feet,” Barsch said he thought to himself when he arrived at Ambrose’s home.
That’s when she left the room and came back with a little green piece of paper.
“So I heard urine need of a kidney,” Ambrose wrote. “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.”
Ambrose’s husband recorded the moment, which shows Barsch bursting into tears.
In the clip shared on Facebook, Barsch leaps off the sofa to hug Ambrose, who can also be seen crying.
“You can’t come up with a word for someone who is that selfless that they’d give up a part of their body,” Barsch said.
Ambrose and Barsch both explained their reason for sharing their story was to raise awareness on PKD as well as the kidney donation process.
Ambrose and Barsch will undergo surgery on May 14 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The surgeon who will be operating on the duo is the same doctor who did Barsch’s mom’s kidney transplant 15 years ago, Barsch told PEOPLE.
For the surgery, Barsch and Ambrose will be right next door to each other as Ambrose’s kidney will immediately be given to Barsch.
“He’s my ride or die,” Ambrose said.
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