Friend gives ail­ing singer Gomez ‘the ul­ti­mate gift’

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: Se­lena Gomez has dropped a bomb­shell on In­sta­gram: the 25-year-old pop star had a kid­ney trans­plant ear­lier this north­ern sum­mer, and the donor was a friend, ac­tress Fran­cia Raisa.

The first photo in the post fea­tures Gomez and Raisa hold­ing hands, ly­ing side by side in hos­pi­tal gowns.

‘‘She gave me the ul­ti­mate gift and sac­ri­fice by do­nat­ing her kid­ney to me,’’ Gomez said of her ex­tremely gen­er­ous friend.

Gomez said she needed a trans­plant as a re­sult of hav­ing Lu­pus, an au­toim­mune dis­ease that can cause dam­age to many or­gans, in­clud­ing the kid­neys, heart and brain.

‘‘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,’’ she posted on In­sta­gram.

‘‘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.‘‘

Gomez felt the need to ad­dress her pub­lic ab­sence af­ter fans started won­der­ing what had hap­pened to her, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing she had new sin­gles to pro­mote.

When a pop star falls off the radar - par­tic­u­larly when they have new work to pub­li­cise - the tabloid gos­sip in­evitably gets go­ing. Gomez has learned that it’s smarter to sim­ply be hon­est.

It wasn’t the first time she had dis­ap­peared due to health prob­lems. In Jan­uary 2014, she can­celled sev­eral con­certs, and the as­sump­tion was that she had checked into a re­hab fa­cil­ity for ad­dic­tion. The fol­low­ing year, she di­vulged that she had ac­tu­ally been un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy af­ter her Lu­pus di­ag­no­sis.

Since then, Gomez has been open about her strug­gles with the ill­ness.

In 2016, just ahead of con­cert dates for her Re­vival tour, she re­leased a state­ment say­ing that she was strug­gling with ‘‘anx­i­ety, panic at­tacks and de­pres­sion’’, which were side ef­fects of her dis­ease. ‘‘I want to be proac­tive and fo­cus on main­tain­ing my health and hap­pi­ness and have de­cided that the best way for­ward is to take some time off,’’ she said.

Fans were de­lighted she was well enough to get back to the record­ing stu­dio and re­lease three sin­gles this year. She also did me­dia ap­pear­ances for the con­tro­ver­sial Net­flix se­ries 13 Rea­sons Why, which she pro­duced. But with the ex­cep­tion of new mu­sic and the oc­ca­sional so­cial me­dia posts, she has been out of the pub­lic eye since then.

Now we know why, and, ac­cord­ing to her In­sta­gram mes­sage, she’ll of­fer up more de­tails about her or­deal when the time is right.

- Wash­ing­ton Post

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM

Pop star Se­lena Gomez, right, has re­ceived a donor kid­ney from her friend, ac­tress Fran­cia Raisa.

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