Selena Gomez is back up to speed after a summer unlike any other for the superstar. It was a summer when Selena received a kidney transplant after a life-changing kidney donation by her friend Francia Raisa. In her announcement post-surgery on September 14, Gomez wrote: 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.” Who is the generous kidney donor? Raisa is a 29-year-old actress who appeared in Bring It On sequel All Or Nothing and The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, as well as the critically acclaimed Dear White People. Raisa also wrote on Instagram about the kidney donation, saying: “I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process.”
Lots of people have best friends. And Gomez and Raisa have reportedly been very close friends since meeting in 2008. But the type of person that donates a kidney transcends the norm for generosity in a friendship. To give an idea, it’s interesting to note that more than 6-in-10 Americans choose not to register to be organ donors even in the event of their death, preferring to keep their organs for the grave. (In one survey, 52 percent of respondents said they feared doctors would not try as hard to save their lives if they were organ or tissue donors.) Living donation, such as the gift Raisa gave to Gomez, is more rare still.
According the American Psychological Association, mental health professionals evaluate potential organ donors “to ensure they’re providing this generous gift with full knowledge of the potential risks and benefits involved.” An important study about the impact on donors like Raisa found that “the altruistic act of kidney donation appears to confer psychologic benefit to the donor. In a study of donors followed after a period of 5 to 10 years, the majority of individuals, independent of the outcome of the procedure, expressed positive feelings towards having donated a kidney.” But before someone becomes a kidney donor, a series of thorough tests “need to be done to ensure they are fit and healthy enough, physically and emotionally.”
These tests reveal much about the potential donor. In Raisa’s case, she would have subjected to — as all donors are — a series of tests like the ones listed below. Since Raisa was able to donate, the tests would have concluded that she had passed all the following test requirements — the current standard for donors — assessing her emotional and physical capacity to make the donation. As you can see, the gift of an organ donation causes more than just physical duress — a donor must go through a lot well before the surgery.
- Kidney donors receive reassurance of their own health: Cleared to donate, “they could now be more confident about their health than if they had never become donors. Knowing that the tests had not detected any problems and that they were fit and healthy enough to donate a kidney was very positive news.”
- Urine sample showed no protein, which means the kidney may not be healthy
- Blood tests to make sure the kidney is washing out the waste product correctly
- Chest X-rays, EKG and CT scans to check if donor’s hear and lungs are healthy enough to withstand the transplant, which is after all a major operation
- CT scan angiogram to show details for surgeons
- Psychology test (looking at emotions and readying the donor for the potential failure of the procedure.)
- Psychiatric test (A psychiatrist who works as a sort “fair play” referee. This is a person not attached to the kidney unit but someone who essentially assesses whether the donor is acting of their own accord or if there is pressure being applied financially. It’s a person looking for corruption, to make sure the donor is acting truly altruistic.
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