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Emilia Clarke's brain haemorrhage 'profoundly changed' her life as she is awarded MBE

The 'Game of Thrones' star suffered brain injuries in 2011 and 2013

Emilia Clarke in white strapless dress
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
30 December 2023
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It has been announced that Emilia Clarke will be awarded an MBE in the New Year. The actress, 37, best known for portraying Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, has been recognised alongside her mother Jenny in the New Year Honours for their work in setting up the brain charity SameYou after she suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2011 at the age of 25 and again in 2013 at aged 27.

Emilia's first haemorrhage took place whilst she was at the gym during her time on the hit HBO Max fantasy show. She has said that she realised there was inadequate support after being discharged from hospital for people like her.

Emilia Clarke in grey dress on red carpet© Getty
Emilia Clarke starred in Game of Thrones

The actress recalled: "In hospital, every day you're told you're going to die. Every day you're watched like a hawk, especially in a brain ward. You're woken up every two hours. It's this high-stakes scenario. And then three weeks to a month later, you're let out."

The Me Before You star even revealed that she "found a reason" to go back to hospital the day after being discharged as she was so afraid. "I was fine, but I was so terrified to suddenly be at home, and I was at home with a loving family. That's not [the same for] everyone, and the fear that you're left with," the star said. "I had this incredible nurse, but I was one of 400 patients that she had. She couldn't give me more than half an hour every three weeks. This is a day-to-day experience of living after a brain injury."

Emilia Clarke attends the Chanel Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week  on October 03, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)© Getty
Emilia Clarke will receive an MBE

The Last Christmas star suffered a second haemorrhage  in 2013. Emilia recalled: "Then when I had my second brain haemorrhage, I was like, I've got to do something big. Looking at the fact that I've survived two of these with no repercussions - I'm here for a reason, let me do something about it…that was when we started circling around the idea of creating a charity."

The Terminator Genisys star set up SameYou for "brain injury survivors to know they haven’t lost the person they were before." The charity has worked with leading UK hospitals to develop a pioneering group rehab in real time online, a postgraduate module for advanced-level practitioner nurses, and a digital resource library featuring clinicians and therapists to connect survivors.

Emilia in black dress© Getty
Emilia is using her platform to raise awareness

Emilia initially opted to keep her experiences out of the public eye for fear of her story becoming a "celebrity sob story". Now she is using her platform to raise awareness and pioneer programmes to support brain injury sufferers. She has said: "The single most important thing that we've done is at least build the first brick of a foundation of a platform to talk about this, because it's a shameful thing - people feel ashamed when they've got it."

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Talking to the BBC, the Secret Invasion actress said that her experience has impacted her mental health. "I'm inclined to say that anxiety is more prevalent within me since the brain haemorrhage, but what else happened when I got a brain haemorrhage was I started Game of Thrones, so anxiety was going to happen any which way."

"There are times when someone will say: 'Do you remember that party you went to you when you were 19?', and I'll go, 'I have no recollection of that whatsoever'," she added. "Maybe that's a bit that's gone in my brain. I have those conversations in my head daily."

Emilia Clarke in tan top© Getty
Emilia Clarke suffered two brain haemorrhages

"But in the grand scheme of things, what I went through and the fact that I'm here talking to you is nothing short of a miracle," she concluded.

Emilia paid tribute to her mother. The actress said: "The fact that it's us together is very sweet and lovely, but the reason why the charity really exists is because of all the work that my mum does."

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Her mother added: "The great honour that we've both been awarded, I don't see it at all for us, because we're just starting off on this journey to try and raise awareness, but [it is for] the tens of thousands of people that have written."

DISCOVER: Emilia Clarke's colourful London home is nothing like her former $4.4million LA pad – see photos 

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