Selena Gomez is using her popularity powers for good.
On Thursday, the Bad Liar singer revealed she had a kidney transplant—donated by her friend, fellow actress Francia Raisa— as a result of her lupus, explaining that was the reason why she had been laying low during the summer.
“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… There aren’t words to describe how I can possible thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me… Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.”
At the end of her post, which already has nearly 9 million likes on Instagram, the 25-year-old star continued to urge her fans to visit the Lupus Research Alliance site to learn about a disease that “continues to be very misunderstood but”. And Selenators listened.
Just 24 hours after breaking the news, President and CEO of the organization, Kenneth M. Farber, said in a statement that phones had been ringing off the hook.
“Selena’s openness and strong emotional connection to her worldwide audience has brought extraordinary awareness to a disease that is typically overlooked,” Farber said. “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 raise almost $500,000 for research funded by the Lupus Research Alliance.”
This is not the first time Selena has done her part in the fight against Lupus. Earlier this year, the former Disney alum made a donation to support research into lupus at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Gomez made the gift to establish the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research.
“I continue to be optimistic about the progress being made in lupus research,” she said in a statement. She went on: “I am hopeful for the millions of us around the world that may benefit from this.”
In 2013, Selena was force to cancel her tour in 2013 after a flare up of the condition that affects the immune system. She later revealed she had been diagnosed with lupus in 2010 and had kept it secret.