September 14, 2017 15:31 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Meet Francia Raisa who gave her kidney to Selena Gomez

Meet Francia Raisa who gave her kidney to Selena Gomez

Raisa, a 29-year-old model and actress from Los Angeles, has been friends with Selena since 2008 after the two met at a Disney and ABC Family charity event at the Children's Hospital.

Selena Gomez paid tribute to her best friend Francia Raisa today for donating her kidney to help the pop star in her fight against Lupus.

But who is this generous and brave young woman who made the for 'ultimate sacrifice' for her friend?

Raisa, a 29-year-old model and actress from Los Angeles, has been friends with Selena since 2008 after the two met at a Disney and ABC Family charity event at the Children's Hospital.

The BFFs have been almost inseparable ever since and Raisa has often paid tribute to their bond in Instagram posts.

Meet the LA actress Francia Raisa who gave her kidney to best friend Selena Gomez
Meet the LA actress Francia Raisa who gave her kidney to best friend Selena Gomez

Meet the LA actress Francia Raisa who gave her kidney to best friend Selena Gomez. She is pictured at the LA Premiere of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why in March, left, and earlier that month at a World Water Day fundraiser in LA, right

Candid: Selena Gomez has revealed she underwent a secret kidney transplant over the summer due to her battle with Lupus in a heartfelt Instagram post she shared on Thursday

Candid: Selena Gomez has revealed she underwent a secret kidney transplant over the summer due to her battle with Lupus in a heartfelt Instagram post she shared on Thursday

In one from 2016, uploaded a photo of the pair together, as Selena turned 24, with the caption: '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,' she continued.

Describing Selena as her 'sister' she described how close they were, and how the Come and Get It singer had been there for here, through hard times and break ups, to 'imply sitting on my kitchen floor throwing our hands up in the air confused at life.'  

Francia revealed details about her relationship with Selena alongside this image of the pair, which she posted on the singer's 24th birthday, saying 'love you so so so much'

Francia revealed details about her relationship with Selena alongside this image of the pair, which she posted on the singer's 24th birthday, saying 'love you so so so much'

Raisa (L) and Selena Gomez arrive at the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Los Angeles Premiere held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on February 8, 2011 

Raisa (L) and Selena Gomez arrive at the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Los Angeles Premiere held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on February 8, 2011 

Honest: The former Disney starlet shared her gratitude via the photo-sharing site following the surgery that has left her with a scar across the right hand side of her stomach

Honest: The former Disney starlet shared her gratitude via the photo-sharing site following the surgery that has left her with a scar across the right hand side of her stomach

'Selena and I were in the same group and we just clicked,' Raisa told Latina magazine in 2013.

Raisa, who was at Selena's side through her highly-publicized breakup with Justin Bieber, added that she 'love(d) her to death.'

'She's my sister and she is one of the sweetest girls I know,' Raisa told Wetpaint in 2012. 'She is so caring and so loving and so nurturing. She's awesome. I don't know where she came from.'

The actress, who appears to be single, is the daughter of radio personality Renan (El Cucuy) Coello and Virginia Almendarez. She also has two siblings.

After a successful modelling career, Francia made her acting debut in 2005 in an episode of action show Over There - and made her film debut in the 2006 film Bring It On: All or Nothing.

Francia - who was a real life cheerleader at Bishop Alemany High School - played Leti in the comedy sequel alongside Hayden Panettiere and Solange Knowles. 

She has also appeared on the US show The Secret Life of the American Teenager - and in 2017 had a role in the critically acclaimed Netflix show, Dear White People.

The 29-year-old is also set to appear in the Black-ish spin-off, Grown-ish.

Following in the steps of her father, Raisa also hosts radio show WTFrancia on Main Stage on Dash Radio. 

Raisa, a 29-year-old model and actress from Los Angeles, has been friends with Selena since 2008 after the two met at a Disney and ABC Family charity event at the Children's Hospital (pictured at Galia Lahav grand opening on January 28, 2016 in Los Angeles)

Raisa, a 29-year-old model and actress from Los Angeles, has been friends with Selena since 2008 after the two met at a Disney and ABC Family charity event at the Children's Hospital (pictured at Galia Lahav grand opening on January 28, 2016 in Los Angeles)

Francia, 29, a model and actress from Los Angeles (left and right), has been friends with Selena since 2008 according to her social media posts

The actress is the daughter of radio personality Renan (El Cucuy) Coello and Virginia Almendarez

The actress is the daughter of radio personality Renan (El Cucuy) Coello and Virginia Almendarez

The 29-year-old is also set to appear in the Black-ish spin-off, Grown-ish

The 29-year-old is also set to appear in the Black-ish spin-off, Grown-ish

She even once attempted a foray into fashion, launching an unsuccessful kickstarter for a wrinkle-free dress that could fit in a purse. 

Raisa and Selena have often been spotted hanging out together, and attended high profile events such as the Unlikely Heroes' 3rd Annual Awards Dinner And Gala in 2014 in Los Angeles and the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Los Angeles Premiere in 2011.

Today, Selena paid tribute to Raisa, who she called 'sister' in a touching Instagram post, alongside a picture of herself and her best friend laying side-by-side in hospital while clutching hands.

She praised the actress for her 'ultimate gift and sacrifice'. 

'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. 

Raisa and Selena at the Unlikely Heroes' 3rd Annual Awards Dinner And Gala at Sofitel Hotel on November 8, 2014, in LA

Raisa and Selena at the Unlikely Heroes' 3rd Annual Awards Dinner And Gala at Sofitel Hotel on November 8, 2014, in LA

Raisa and Selena have often been spotted hanging out together, and attended high profile events such as the Unlikely Heroes' 3rd Annual Awards Dinner And Gala in 2014 in Los Angeles and the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Los Angeles Premiere in 2011 

Raisa and Selena have often been spotted hanging out together, and attended high profile events such as the Unlikely Heroes' 3rd Annual Awards Dinner And Gala in 2014 in Los Angeles and the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Los Angeles Premiere in 2011 

In another Instagram post, Raisa wished her 'forever friend' and 'sister' a happy birthday

In another Instagram post, Raisa wished her 'forever friend' and 'sister' a happy birthday

'Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.' 

Since news of her incredible sacrifice, Francia's social media has been inundated with messages of thanks and support from Selena's fans.

Selena also added a link to the Lupus Research Alliance website, encouraging her followers would look into the condition.

The star has been vocal about her battle with the autoimmune disease, putting her money where her mouth is in May 2016 as she announced plans to donate proceeds from ticket sales of her Revival tour to Alliance for Lupus Research.

However, just months later, she was forced to pull out of the international tour due to health concerns.

Selena previously had to cancel her Stars Dance tour in 2013 in order to undergo chemotherapy treatment for the chronic inflammatory disease.

It wasn't until October 2015 that she spoke out for the first time about her struggles with the disease, sharing details of her chemotherapy with Billboard in an interview. 

THE FACTS ABOUT KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS AND LUPUS 

Selena's best friend was probably able to give the singer the 'ultimate gift' as their blood groups matched after Lupus damaged her kidneys.

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. 

Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.  Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments, and no two cases of lupus are exactly alike. 

A kidney transplant is a risky major surgical procedure and requires matching blood groups. 

Tissue typing tests (HLA) are also taken to see how well the potential donor organ would work in the new body or if it would be rejected by the immune system. 

Parents and children have a 50 per cent chance of matching, unrelated donors are much less likely. But it is possible to have a perfect match if the recipient has a common HLA type.

The most common type of kidney transplants come from the deceased. But donations from relatives and friends are becoming more common.

Figures suggest that in between 3 and 4 per cent of cases the donor kidneys fail because the new recipient's body has rejected the organ.  

Source: Mayo Clinic, National Institutes Of Health 

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