In 2015, Selena Gomez revealed that she had been diagnosed with lupus, and had canceled her tour the year before to undergo chemotherapy for the autoimmune disease, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and 5 million people worldwide.
"I feel I'm able to reach my fans and understand people when I am one-on-one with them, and they're kind of dealing with the same thing," Gomez said at the time. "So, I'm just trying to take something that maybe is negative and turn it into a positive."
Gomez is continuing that approach, as People reports the singer recently made a donation to the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine to start the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research, which will support a pilot research program to treat complications of the disease led by Janos Peti-Peterdi, M.D., Ph.D., professor of physiology and biophysics at USC.
"I continue to be optimistic about the progress being made in lupus research and am proud to support the promising work at Keck School of Medicine," Gomez said in a statement. "I am hopeful for the millions of us around the world that may benefit from this."
Peti-Peterdi, meanwhile, said of the singer's donation, "We are extremely pleased to partner with Selena in her efforts to promote awareness and medical research toward a much-needed cure for lupus. Complications from systemic lupus cause serious damage, and we are hopeful that our research, with Selena's support, will help those affected by this disease lead full, healthy lives."
Gomez has been open with fans about her frequently difficult journey with the disease, sharing last August that she was taking a break to deal with "anxiety, panic attacks and depression" associated with the condition. She's now back to making new music and is an executive producer on an upcoming Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why.