Amid the current head-spinning news cycle of sexual harassment and assault stories that are barraging us each day, it may seem difficult to find a positive news story, let alone a heartwarming one. But on Thursday night at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music event, singer Selena Gomez delivered a moment that is inspiring and poignant for all the right reasons.
Gomez was being honored with the “Woman of the Year” award, a distinction she’s earned both personally and professionally. The singer has been open about her struggles with lupus and the fact that she underwent a kidney transplant in August, and all the while her career has been humming along — she released a new album and is an executive producer for a hit Netflix show. But it was the kidney transplant, made possible by a selfless friend, that was on her mind Thursday night. The life-saving organ donation was made by the actress Francia Raisa. In September, Gomez told fans about the surgery, and shared a photo on social media of her and Raisa in their hospital beds.
“To be honest, I think Francia should be getting this award … she saved my life,” Gomez said of Raisa, whom she brought with her to the award show. “I feel incredibly lucky. Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position that I’ve been given in my career from 7 to 14 to now.”
She continued, saying, “I want people to know that I respect the platform that I have so deeply because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something great, I wanted people to feel great.”
“Specifically this year, I would like to thank my amazing team and my family because they stuck with me through some really hard times,” she added. “I got to do a lot this year, even though I had a couple of other things to do.”
Prior to the show, Gomez and Raisa were seen being photographed on the red carpet together, another decidedly happy photo of the two.
Below, watch a video clip of Gomez’s emotional acceptance speech.
Read the full story at Billboard.