Francia Raisa Admits Selena Gomez Kidney Transplant Caused Her to 'Panic' at Times
By Jennifer Drysdale
Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Francia Raisa is opening up about donating her kidney to Selena Gomez like never before.
In a new interview with SELF magazine, the Grown-ish star proudly shows off her surgery scars, but reveals that donating her kidney to Gomez wasn't what she had expected.
"I felt a lot of peace throughout the whole thing, ironically. There were times that I did panic," Raisa confesses. As the 29-year-old actress explains, she "of course" wanted to get tested to see if her kidney would be a match for her friend, "but I wasn't educated on kidney surgery."
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Selena Gomez Tears Up as She Opens Up About Life-Saving Kidney Transplant With Francia Raisa
Raisa donated her kidney to Gomez after the former Disney star, who has spent years battling arthritis and the autoimmune disease lupus, began to get increasingly ill as her kidneys started to shut down.
In her interview with SELF, Raisa says that she "knew" she was going to be a match, but she didn't realize the extent of the surgery until she talked with her social worker. "She told me, 'It's going to be hard. The recipient is going to glow, and she's going to recover a lot faster than the donor is because she's getting something she needs. You're losing something you don't need to lose. It's going to be hard.' And it was very hard."
Through the "storms," however, the actress says she's happier than ever. "Your scars don't define you. it's a part of your story, and it's a part of the story that makes you special and you different."
"My kidneys were just done," Gomez said. "That was it, and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life… and [Raisa] volunteered and did it."
“She did [save my life],” she added. "As soon as I got the kidney, my arthritis went away. My lupus is at a three-to-five percent chance it'll ever come back. My blood pressure is better. My energy and my life has been better."