NewsHillsborough County

Actions

Tampa Bay area families bond following teen's kidney transplant

Families-bond-following-teen's-kidney-transplant-WFTS.jpg
Posted at 4:24 PM, Apr 02, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Raj Guntuku was an active 13-year-old boy, but doctors told him he had chronic kidney disease and would need a transplant in September.

"The first few times with dialysis, maybe I was a little nervous, but after that, I got used to it," said Raj.

Raj's family did everything they could to try and find a donor. They even advertised on a mobile billboard.

But it was an article of the Neighborhood News that caught the attention of Joel Morales.

A quick glance at the story and the picture of Raj and his dog Benji convinced Joel he wanted to help.

"It's not something that I ever thought about doing before — ever considered. Ever dreamed that was a thing," said Joel.

Thankfully Joel was a match, and on March 4, Raj got his kidney.

"It's a very big thing to ask from people, and I think it's very good and great that he did it. And that's why we thank him every time we meet," Raj said.

Families-bond-following-teen's-kidney-transplant-WFTS.jpg

Since the surgery, the two have bonded playing Fortnite — their families have bonded too.

"It's just crazy how quickly life changes and how much their family means to me and my family over the last month and a half," said Joel.