KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The owner of Holy Land Market and Deli on Sutherland Avenue is reaching out to the community for help finding a kidney donor.

Walter Ajlouny and his wife opened the Mediterranean spot when they moved to Knoxville 18 years ago.

“We try to do our best to give them good food and make them feel like family,” Ajlouny said.

With his health problems, it’s become harder to run the restaurant. He and his family are searching for anyone who may be a match to donate.

“Right now, I’m a little tired right now, I’m a little weak. Next week, I go see a surgeon, see about preparing myself for dialysis, because they’ve been holding off as long as possible but it’s time,” he said.

His struggle with his kidney health is something he’s been dealing with nearly his entire life.

“I’ve had bad kidneys since I was 19, I’ve been dealing with it,” he explained. “During COVID time, it just put a lot of stress on me and my blood pressure and everything else and it affected my kidneys.”

Fortunately, he’s gotten some help from family to keep his business running.

“My son just moved here a year ago, my family and my grandkids and all that. They help me because during COVID time it was a rough time, a lot of stress, nobody wants to work, my wife took ill and ended up passing away so it put a lot of stress on me and what not, but having them here is great they do a fantastic job,” he said.

Since his son posted about their search for a kidney donor on Facebook, he said he’s seen support from customers, neighbors and the Knoxville community.

“A lot of well wishes, I have a few people that are having them checked out now to see if they can donate, have some neighbors in my neighborhood as well, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed, and I’m in God’s hands whether the kidney doesn’t come or comes, just got to be patient,” he said.

Anyone who wants to be a donor to Ajlouny, can call 865-305-5340 or email, and leave a message with your name, date of birth, phone number and intended recipient.