Retired Montgomery Co. police officer gives former beat partner gift of life

WASHINGTON — Two retired Montgomery County police officers who once patrolled the streets together are teaming up again. This time, one will give the other a lifesaving gift.

Stan Barsch is battling polycystic kidney disease, also known as PKD, a genetic disease he inherited from his mother.

Cysts are growing in his kidneys and making them swell.

“My kidneys are right now the size of two NFL footballs. They’re about 15 to 20 pounds apiece,” Barsch said.

In January, he put out the word to friends and posted on social media that he needs a transplant.

So another retired officer — Barsch’s former beat partner Megan Ambrose — got tested. She discovered that she’s the perfect match to give him one of her kidneys.

“I knew her blood matched, but I had no idea that she was a 100 percent match. It’s unheard of for someone other than a sibling,” Barsch said. “It is amazing and no doubt godsend.”

Ambrose gave Barsch the good news when the two visited each other on what happened to be Valentine’s Day and National Donor Day.

Ambrose handed Barsch a homemade card that said on the front, “So I heard urine need of a kidney …” Inside it said, “Want mine???”

She went on to write, “You always had my back on the road and off. Now you can have my kidney.”

In a video recorded by Ambrose’s husband and obtained by WJLA-7, Barsch gets emotional as he reads the card.

“The surgery date had already been set for May 14, she had worked it out with my transplant coordinators,” Barsch said.

“These guys at Georgetown University (Hospital) are phenomenal. The surgeon who’s doing the surgery actually did my mother’s kidney transplant 15 years ago when he was a doctor at Washington Hospital Center.”

Barsch will have both kidneys removed, and Ambrose’s left kidney will be transplanted on his left side.

Barsch is encouraging others to become living donors. “They hold a gift,” he said.

Read more about becoming a donor at the National Kidney Foundation.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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