Francia Raisa‘s mother is speaking out for the first time about her daughter’s kidney transplant surgery for BFF Selena Gomez.
On Friday, Virginia Almendarez spoke to Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo following the news that Raisa, 29, donated her kidney in hopes of aiding Gomez’s battle with the chronic autoimmune disease Lupus.
“They’ve been friends for many years. They’re like sisters. I love her a lot, too. She loves me a lot. She says I’m her mom,” Almendarez told the Spanish-language broadcaster of her daughter and Gomez.
“Francia Raisa is an adult already, and she makes her own choices. She told me about it two weeks before the operation, 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,” the mother of three said.
Me and Selena
Gomez revealed the transplant news in an Instagram post on Thursday, sharing a photo of herself and Raisa next to each other in hospital beds.
“All I could do was support her. 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,” Almendarez explained, adding that Gomez’s mother, Mandy Teefey, gave her a big hug and said: “I don’t know what to say.”
According to Raisa’s mom, the longtime friends are closer than ever.
“The love between them has really grown. Selena is a great girl, and she also has a big heart, as does Francia. I’m very proud of both of them,” Almendarez said. “Francia has a huge heart because not anyone would just let go of one of their organs to give it to someone else.”
RELATED LINK: Why Selena Gomez Needed a Kidney Transplant to Treat Her Lupus
As for whether or not Francia was financially compensated for her contribution, Almendarez shared that it was all from the kindness of her daughter’s heart.
“No, not even a single penny. Some people are treating this as if there was money involved. Francia did it for friendship, for her love for Selena, and because they care a lot for each other,” she said. “She didn’t receive any benefit from this, only the benefit of Selena having a better life.”
It’s been weeks since Raisa’s transplant surgery, and the actress has now returned to work.
“She’s actually filming a TV show that’s called Grown-ish, and she’s just going about her normal life,” Almendarez said. “Thank God they’re both doing great. Thankfully the kidney was compatible and that everything came out perfectly.”