ST. LOUIS – Two Missouri police officers have never met, but are forever connected.
The sacrifice of one gave a second chance to the other through a kidney transplant at SSM Health St. Louis University.
“At 12:12 in the morning the phone rang, and it was the coordinator telling us that they had a match for Mark, and it was the Independence officer that had been killed in the line of duty she said we need you to be in St. Louis at 8 a.m.,” Heather Priebe said.
The phone call changed everything for Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe. He needed a new kidney.
Priebe was paralyzed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle in 2020.
His kidneys began to fail this summer. A kidney match was found when Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was shot to death in the line of duty last week. He was an organ donor.
“The way the dots were connected, and the people reaching to the right people in within my department and the people who knew each other from Independence PD and Springfield PD. This is definitely not a human thing, this is a God thing,” Officer Priebe said.
The transplant surgery was Sept. 18 at SSM Health St. Lous University Hospital.
Officer Priebe said he is “doing really good. Everything’s looking good. We’re just dealing with typical after-surgery stuff. I’m hoping to get up later this afternoon and get a little more mobile.”
Heather Priebe said, “The nephrologist was just in from the transplant team and told Mark that his kidney function looks better than his own kidney function.”
It’s a story of an officer and an organ donor at this point, but Officer Priebe and his wife are reaching out to Madrid-Evans’ family, hoping they can meet them someday.
“We’ll never meet Blaize on this Earth. Today, all we can do is thank him through our prayers and thank his family,” Heather Priebe said.
Officer Priebe and Heather are hoping to return home to the Springfield area in a couple of weeks.
“What a difference one person can make in so many different lives by willing to donate,” Priebe said.