This is the ultimate friendship.
Selena Gomez surprisingly announced on social media Thursday morning, that she had undergone a kidney transplant as a result of her Lupus and needed a new organ to improve her "overall health." The organ donor is her "beautiful friend," Francia Raisa. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me," Gomez wrote of Raisa. "I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis."
This is a story about the biggest sacrifice one can do for a friend, as the Secret Life of the American Teenager star's mom, Virginia Almendarez explains to Telemundo's María Celeste Arrarás. The actress' mother gave an exclusive interview to Al Rojo Vivo and talked about her daughter's decade-long friendship, the secret surgery and how they recovered from it all.
"They've been friends for many years. They're like sisters," the mother of three says. "I love her(Gomez) a lot, too. She loves me a lot. She says I'm her mom. I'm very proud of both of them."
Almendarez explains that Raisa made this decision on her own and told her two weeks before the surgery.
"Francia Raisa is an adult already, and she makes her own choices. She told me about it, 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 says. "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."
Arrarás asked her to clarify if there had been any kind of monetary transaction from Gomez to Raisa.
"No, not even a single penny. Some people are treating this as if there was money involved," she says. "Francia did it for friendship, for her love for Selena, and because they care a lot for each other. She didn't receive any benefit from this, only the benefit of Selena having a better life."
The Puerto Rican journalist then asked her if it was true that the two friends stayed in a home for a month that was rented by Selena for them to recuperate after the kidney transplant surgery.
"Yes, I went there to visit her," she reveals. "Because of my job, I didn't have a lot of time but they were there, and I would go one to two times a week."
Almendarez explains that Gomez and Raisa had "separate rooms" and "had their nurses there to take care of them." Luckily, she says that her daughter has been able to reincorporate herself to her day-to-day routine and is finally working out again.
"She's actually filming a TV show that's called Grown-ish, and she's just going about her normal life," she says. "She(Gomez) is well, too. Thank God they're both doing great. Thankfully the kidney was compatible and that everything came out perfectly."
Almendarez says that she and Selena's mother hugged and that the "Fetish" singer's mother was at a loss for words, full of emotion and said, "I don't know what to say."
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. 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. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith
And as for how their friendship has evolved since the operation, Almendarez kindly says that "The love between them has really grown."
"Selena is a great girl, and she also has a big heart, as does Francia," she explains. "I'm very proud of both of them. Francia has a huge heart because not anyone would just let go of one of their organs to give it to someone else."
Gomez's "sis" responded to the news, explaining how "grateful" she is to be able to impact Gomez's life in this way. "I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process. This was part of our story, and we will share it soon, but what is important now is that this is not the only story," Raisa wrote.
"For more information regarding Lupus, please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website:www.lupusresearch.org -- Love you sis, so glad we're on this journey together."
For some who haven't been paying close attention to the "Bad Liar" singer's inner circle, Raisa has been there for the 25-year-old pop star since her earlier years in the business. Rewind to around 2007, and the two teen actresses met when Disney and Freeform (formerly ABC Family) had the stars of their shows visit a children's hospital together. As Raisa told Latina, "Selena and I were in the same group, and we just clicked."
Since that time, the two have built what appears to be an unbreakable bond. "Met you when you were 15, and u became family to me when you were 16. Since then you have changed my life, and I've become a better person. I love you and am beyond grateful to be a part your life cuz girl... we in our 20's," Raisa wrote to her famous bestie in honor of her birthday in 2013.
Three years later, the young women were forging ahead and offering each other a shoulder to lean on when times got tough. "I went through heartbreak this year, and you left the studio and drove out of your way to come see me and comfort me. I received good news last month and you facetimed me minutes before you went up on stage just to congratulate me. There are so many moments we have and things you do that I cherish and don't take for granted," Raisa penned to Gomez last summer.
"[Whether] it's crying, laughing, or simply sitting on my kitchen floor throwing our hands up in the air confused at life, I'm thankful you're always there. I am obsessed with every memory we've built in the last 8 years and the ones we have yet to create. I am so grateful that God put you in my life when he did. If you think about the time that we met and where we were in our lives when we first hung out, his timing was perfect. It's been so inspiring watching you grow and to grow with you."
As Raisa wrote to her "hermanita" in 2014, "We're in this crazy life together. Our story is like no other. #always&forever."