For the first time, Selena Gomez has shared the details of her scary kidney transplant in an emotional interview. And Francia Raisa, who donated her kidney to save Gomez’s life, was right there by her side.
In an NBC News interview that aired Monday morning (October 30), Gomez recalled the pain she felt earlier this year after her kidneys started failing from complications with lupus. Unable to find a match amongst family members, and with a donor list seven to 10 years long, she found herself at an impasse.
“I knew that she hadn’t been feeling well,” said Raisa, who was Gomez’s roommate at the time. “She couldn’t open a water bottle one day. She chucked it and started crying. And I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And that’s when she told me.”
Raisa immediately volunteered to get tested and found out she was a match, which Gomez believes is no coincidence. Her illness had progressed “to the point where it was really life or death,” and she believes her friend saved her life.
“She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real,” she said.
I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith
While Raisa’s operation went smoothly, Gomez had to undergo an emergency second surgery after one of her arteries had flipped. The girls’ recovery was similarly difficult, as they were both put on bed rest and needed assistance with basic tasks like getting dressed. These days, however, Gomez’s lupus is in remission and there’s only a small chance that it will return.
“It’s really hard to think about, or even to swallow, especially now that as soon as I got the kidney transplant, my arthritis went away, my lupus, there’s about a 3 to 5 percent chance it will ever come back, my blood pressure is better,” Gomez said. “My energy, my life has been better.”