Game of Thrones actress launches charity for young people with brain injuries

Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the fantasy TV series,  suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms whilst filming for the show. 

She has now launched SameYou, a charity aimed at supporting young people with brain injuries and helping them access resources to aid recovery. The 32-year-old actress recently revealed that she almost died in 2011 as a result of the aneurysms. Clarke explained in an essay for The New Yorker that her aneurysms came to light in 2011 following the first season of Game of Thrones, when she experienced 'constricting pain' in her head.  "I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers," she said. "I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain - shooting, stabbing, constricting pain - was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.” An MRI scan, showed she had a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. She write: "For the patients who do survive, urgent treatment is required to seal off the aneurysm, as there is a very high risk of a second, often fatal bleed. If I was to live and avoid terrible deficits, I would have to have urgent surgery. And, even then, there were no guarantees.” After surgery, Clarke had aphasia - an impairment of language - and couldn’t recall her name. This passed after a week, but she was told she had a second, smaller aneurysm, which doctors believed would stay dormant. After finishing Season 3 of Game of Thrones, a brain scan showed that the aneurysm had doubled in size. She underwent surgery but the procedure was unsuccessful so she underwent a more intrusive surgery, through the skull. Clarke said it took its toll on her mentally. "At certain points, I lost all hope," she said. "There was terrible anxiety, panic attacks." "In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes," she wrote. "I am now at a hundred percent."  Read Emilia Clarke's essay here. 
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