Selena Gomez's harrowing health journey has inspired people to donate big bucks to help fund lupus research.
The 25-year-old star had revealed on Thursday that she had undergone a kidney transplant and had received a kidney donated by her friend, fellow actress Francia Raisa. Selena had said in 2015 that she has lupus, an incurable autoimmune and inflammatory disease whose symptoms are often treated with medication but can still cause kidney failure.
"Selena's openness and strong emotional connection to her worldwide audience has brought extraordinary awareness to a disease that is typically overlooked. 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 organization in many ways, donating a portion of tickets sales for her last concert tour to the Lupus Research Alliance and requesting donations to us on the occasion of her birthday, as well as yesterday's announcement. Together her appeals have raised almost $500,000 for research funded by the Lupus Research Alliance," the group's President and CEO Kenneth Farber told E! News Friday.
"We love Selena and support her, the Lupus Research Alliance is grateful for her support and we wish her well in her recovery," read a message posted on the group's Twitter page Thursday, in response to Selena's announcement about her kidney transplant.
"I continue to be optimistic about the progress being made in lupus research and am proud to support the promising work at Keck School of Medicine," she said at the time. "I am hopeful for the millions of us around the world that may benefit from this."
—Reporting by Holly Passalaqua