LIFESTYLE

"Now, I Have A Big Family": Francia Raisa Opens Up About Donating Kidney To Selena Gomez

Five years ago, Selena Gomez was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease lupus. In 2014 and 2016, she had to cancel tours to deal with anxiety and depression. Selena also underwent chemotherapy for treatment.

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However, the disease had affected her kidneys, and without the transplant, she would have required dialysis. She had her family tested, and none of the members matched.

READ ALSO: Selena Gomez And 4 Other Celebrities Who Know All About The Struggles Of Living With Lupus

After finding out that lupus had caused Gomez to have arthritis, roommate and actress Francia Raisa offered her kidney without hesitation.

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Raisa immediately set to taking the necessary psychological and physical tests in one day, when usually the process would take six months. She was a perfect match, which Gomez described as unbelievable.

"It was really hard"

A post shared by Francia Raísa (@franciaraisa) on

Francia Raisa, who’s best known for her roles in The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Bring It On: All Or Nothing, has finally spoken out about her own experience of the donation, how difficult she found it, and how it’s cemented her sisterly bond with the singer.

Speaking to Harry Connick Jr. on his show Harry, Francia said she and Selena decided to keep the operation quiet.

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So our surgery was in June, our fans didn’t find out about it until September. We wanted that privacy. It was a big surgery.

Raisa said there was fear before the procedure, though she felt calm after.

I had to write a will which was scary because there's no guarantee that you'll wake up.

Francia was pretty honest about how difficult the operation was for her, revealing it took her two months to recover from donating a significant organ.

It’s harder as the donor because we are losing something our body didn’t need to lose, so trying to recover from that… and she’s gaining something her body needed. So she’s up and at it immediately, and I had a hard time.

The actress said she couldn’t even do basic tasks.

READ ALSO: Raising Awareness: Celebrities Open Up About Their Health Issues And Try To Help Others

I couldn’t get up without having someone help me,” she said. “That was very humbling. I couldn’t take a shower by myself; I had to have someone help me because I couldn’t move. I’m a very, very active person, so the fact that my doctor said I couldn’t move for two months – two months, I couldn’t do anything active.That was very hard for me. I have a dog, and every day the thing I look forward to is drinking my coffee and walking, and I couldn’t do that. It was really, really hard.”

Despite her struggles, Francia proved her 'world’s best-friend' status by going on to focus on the positives she gained from the experience – a second family.

She felt bad about even having me do that because we are just friends, I am not her family or anything. Well, I am now. She has my blood. I lost my grandparents when I was younger… her grandparents are my grandparents now, and so I have this extension of a family, and it’s been really amazing.

Selena is a fortunate girl

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Both Gomez and Raísa said their faith guided them through their emotional journey, which they kept private until months later when Gomez shared news about her transplant through an Instagram post in September to her 128 million followers.

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Last year, the pair took part in an emotional joint interview, where Selena revealed the severity of the situation. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me," Gomez said. "I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much, sis."

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Back in 2015, it was revealed that Selena had undergone chemotherapy for lupus. For those of you who don't know, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the body's immune system, meaning it becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. The pair hopes their process will help others experiencing similar journeys.

READ ALSO: 7 Warning Signs Of Kidney Disease That People Should Pay Attention To

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