Fans of Selena Gomez knew the singer struggled with Lupus for years, but it still came as a surprise when she announced she momentarily retreated from the spotlight due to a kidney transplant. At the time, she seemed blessed by a quick recovery. Even more encouraging? The fact that her longtime pal and fellow actor was a match for Gomez, and donated her own kidney to help her heal. Now, Francia Raisa revealed her difficult healing process after donating her kidney to Gomez, in addition to sharing how close the experience has made them.
Raisa, who acts on Freeform's new series grown-ish, will be on Harry Connick Jr.'s daytime talk show Harry to promote the project on Monday, Feb. 19. As JustJared reports, the conversation turns to last summer, when Raisa donated a kidney to Gomez. (Gomez has not officially announced when her surgery took place, though Raisa has said June.) While the singer was reportedly experienced a quick recovery time, Raisa was not as fortunate. As the Freeform actor explained:
“It’s harder as the donor because we are losing something our body didn’t need to lose. Watching [Gomez become] up and at it immediately while [I] still had to go through months of recovery first was difficult. I couldn’t get up without having someone help me. 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 2 months. Two months, I couldn’t do anything active. All I could do was walk. That was very hard for me and 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."
Raisa is honest about her experience, which was as intense as it was personal. It proves how brave the actor was to willingly give up her kidney to her friend, and what a sacrifice it must have been for her.
As Raisa previously explained to Savannah Guthrie, a Today anchor on NBC, the decision to donate a kidney was entirely her own. The actor stated that after observing Gomez's health decline — not to mention, the extensive waiting period for a donor kidney — she immediately volunteered to be tested, to see if she might be compatible as a donor. In Raisa's own words:
"One day [Selena] came home and she was emotional. I hadn’t asked anything. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well. [Then] she couldn’t open a water bottle one day. She chucked it and she started crying. And I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and that’s when she told me. And she goes, ‘I don’t know what to do. The list is seven to 10 years long.' It just vomited out of me: I was like, ‘Of course I’ll get tested.'"
Fortunately, the two were a match, and the rest is history. As for why it took so long for fans to find out about the massive surgery? Per JustJared, Raisa explained in the new interview:
"Our surgery was in June, our fans didn’t find out about it until September. We wanted that privacy. It was a big surgery. 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. She felt bad. We just wanted our families around and it was cool because now I have a big family. 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."
After going through such a major life experience together, it's no wonder they're like family now.
Raisa definitely goes down in the BFF hall of fame, as the healthy, working actor underwent major surgery to help her friend. Gomez was out and about in a matter of weeks, making public appearances and attending events as early as September or October of 2017. Raisa's time was more difficult. She had to work slowly and diligently to return to full health, as her body adjusted to functioning after the loss of a kidney. By February 2018, though, she's well beyond on the mend.