Officials at America’s Lupus Research Alliance have saluted Selena Gomez for going public with her kidney transplant news, claiming it has helped them raise over $500,000 (GBP368,000).
On Thursday (14Sep17), the singer and actress announced she received a kidney from her best friend Francia Raisa following complications from her battle with autoimmune disease lupus earlier this summer (17), and the big reveal has led to a surge in interest for the charity whose website Selena urged fans to visit.
“Selena’s openness and strong emotional connection to her worldwide audience has brought extraordinary awareness to a disease that is typically overlooked,” the organisation’s president, Kenneth M. Farber, says in a statement. “As a result of her encouragement to visit our website, LupusResearch.org, to learn about lupus, our phones have been ringing off the hook and our website traffic has soared.
“Selena has supported our organisation in many ways, donating a portion of ticket sales for her last concert tour to the Lupus Research Alliance and requesting donations to us on the occasion of her birthday.”
On Friday (15Sep17), Francia’s mother, Virginia Almendarez, told Spanish-language television network Telemundo’s show Al Rojo Vivo (Red Hot) that Selena and her daughter have both recovered well following their respective surgeries.
“Thank God they’re both doing great,” she shared. “Thankfully the kidney was compatible and that everything came out perfectly (sic).”
Editors at People magazine translated the Spanish-language interview, in which Virginia explains she was very concerned when her daughter first told her the plan.
“(Francia) is an adult already, and she makes her own choices,” she notes. “She told me about it two weeks before the operation, and of course, at first, I was worried, but then she said that she had been thoroughly informed about everything and that she was going to do it.
“All I could do was support her,” she adds. “People need to know that you can live with one kidney, there are a lot of individuals that get scared to donate to people that need it because they’re afraid of never again living a normal life. But there is no danger.”