WATERTOWN (CBS) – Facing complications since birth, a young Watertown boy may soon be on his way to recovery.

Rafa Melendez was born with kidney problems and has needed several surgeries and nightly dialysis just to stay alive. Now his father is coming to the rescue.

Bedtime can be a reminder of where young Rafa has been.

“It was very scary and it was very dire,” said Sarah Melendez, Rafa’s mother.

rafa2 A Perfect Match: Watertown Dad To Donate Kidney To 14 Month Old Son

Javi and Rafa Melendez (WBZ-TV)

His crib side dialysis machine tells of kidneys which never developed, resulting in more hospital visits during his first 14 months of life than his parents can remember.

“He’s thriving right now, doing absolutely amazing,” said Javi Melendez, Rafa’s father. “Better than anyone could have expected.”

Rafa’s parents have known for most of his short life that he’d need a kidney transplant, even as relatives and strangers alike volunteered.

rafa A Perfect Match: Watertown Dad To Donate Kidney To 14 Month Old Son

Rafa Melendez (WBZ-TV)

As it turns out, Rafa’s dad is a perfect match. There are still a couple of tests to do, but if everything goes well, Rafa will be getting one of his dad’s kidneys next month.

“There is nothing better for a father than to give his son the gift of life,” Javi said.

But Javi and his wife hope their story is more than a happy ending for just their family. They’d like to inspire others to consider becoming a living kidney donor.

“The change that you make in that person’s life is huge, compared to the minimal difference that it will make in yours,” Javi said.

“For him to be the person who ended up being the perfect match was just a dream come true,” Sarah said.

They have started a GoFundMe page to cover the expenses of a joint recovery.


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