GoT's Emilia Clarke Launched a Charity After Surviving Two Aneurysms

The Game of Thrones star founded SameYou and is calling for greater resources for brain injury rehabilitation for young people

May 21, 2019

(Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com)

There probably isn't a person on earth who doesn't know the name Daenerys Targaryen - or Queen Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, The rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons as her full name goes.

The beloved Game of Thrones character took the hearts of fans in a storm and made Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys, a household name. As it turns out, Clark doesn't just have a big heart when she's in character.

The Game of Thrones star recently announced the launch of her new charity SameYou, which she founded after surviving two brain aneurysms.

 
 
 
 
 
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Her new charity focuses on providing resources to the millions of people worldwide who have suffered brain injuries or strokes and need access to neurorehabilitation, an issue that is near and dear to her heart.

After finishing the filming of the first season of GoT back in 2011 she had what would turn out to be the first of two life-threatening strokes. After life-saving surgery, she spent weeks in the ICU before returning to her life and working on season two of GOT.

Just two years later, in 2013, she underwent another surgery after a growth on the other side of her brain had doubled in size. Since her second surgery, Clarke said, she has "healed beyond [her] most unreasonable hopes" and is now at 100%.

In order to raise awareness for brain injuries and the difficult recovery they demand, Clarke tells her incredible story in a very personal article in the New Yorker. She also appeared on The New Yorker Radio Hour, which you can listen to below.

So, in addition to her amazing work as an actress, Clarke decided to create Same You. She developed the charity with partners in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ultimately, though, Clarke says she's hoping for change.

“I know from personal experience that the impact of brain injury is shattering,” says Clarke. “Recovery is long-term, and rehabilitation can be difficult to access. Brain injury can be an invisible illness, and the subject is often taboo. We must help young adults take control of their recovery and allow them to open up without fear of stigma or shame.”

Worldwide, more than 50 million people have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, which is a major cause of death and disability. For those who survive, many spend the rest of their lives coping with the after-effects of the injury, which often have a deeply damaging effect on every aspect of their lives. Unemployment, family and financial stress, and depression are common among survivors. Beyond the physical toll, treatment, including psychiatric care, can be costly and resources are not centralized.

“The degree to which people can adapt and face the future after neurological trauma is dependent on the quality and provision of rehabilitation care,” adds Clarke. “While I was recovering, I saw that access to integrated mental and physical health recovery programs are limited and not affordable for all. I am determined to help.”

She also said on Instagram she'd like to hear stories from others impacted by brain injury. "Same You is full to bursting with love, brain power and the help of amazing people with amazing stories," Clarke wrote, "[The New Yorker] published my story, now I’d like to hear yours!"

 
 
 
 
 
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DAVID RUHM, EDITOR IN CHIEF
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.