Over the weekend, at the 2017 American Music Awards, Selena Gomez gave her first performance since undergoing a kidney transplant earlier this year. One day later, she decided to take things a step further by opening up about her “life-or-death” battle with lupus.
While being recognized at the Lupus Research Alliance Annual Gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on Monday night, the 25-year-old took a moment to reflect on her own experience with the autoimmune disease. “I am really honored to be here with all of you guys tonight, my lupus community,” she said, according to E! News. “As many of you know, or might now know, I was diagnosed with lupus about five or six years ago.”
She went on to admit that when her doctors initially warned her that she might need a kidney transplant one day (which obviously came to pass), she wasn’t completely aware of the seriousness of the situation — and that resulted in a dire outcome. “Maybe I wasn’t necessarily really good at knowing what that meant,” she said, “so it actually got to a point where it was life or death.”
“Thankfully,” she continued, “one of my best friends [Francia Raisa] gave me her kidney and it was the ultimate gift of life. And I am doing quite well now.”
Quite well means some pretty great things for the star, who says that her arthritis is gone, she’s seen an improvement in blood pressure and energy levels, and there’s only a three to five percent chance that her lupus will return.
Now that she’s on the mend, the “Bad Liar” performer wants to help “raise awareness” around what it means to live with lupus. Beyond that, she says, “I also want people to know why research is so important and why we must support the scientists who bring all the promise of new discovery.”
In recognition of some of those medical professionals, she took a moment to thank those who have helped her through this difficult time. “It feels good to actually be honoring people like you, or in my world it could seem kind of vain, but this is really, really special.”
She finished by expressing her hopes, saying, “I’d like to see the day when all young women can realize their dreams of life without a lupus. This is why I am committed to the Lupus Research Alliance. So that none of us are alone, especially the young women that I have grown up with and heard many, many stories [from]. I just want to say thank you and I hope we can do something for all of the younger people who need to know what this means.”
If you’d like to find out more about lupus and how you can support those who are dealing with the disease, head over to the Lupus Research Alliance for more information.
Do you appreciate that Selena Gomez is opening up about her battle with lupus? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photo via Neilson Barnard/Getty)