This started as a generous bullet on my Friday miscellany list, but I think it’s a topic that deserves a little more of the spotlight.
While I have not watched Game of Thrones, I was astonished to learn that actress Emilia Clarke has had two brain aneurysms, as well as invasive brain surgery. All of this took place in the midst of filming. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.
As if that wasn’t enough, this impressive young lady started a charity earlier this year–eight years after her first aneurysm–to support the cause. SameYou aims to improve rehabilitative care for young adults who have suffered brain injuries or strokes. Someone shared the story on Reddit and within a few weeks, the charity had raised over $100,000 to support research and resources for young people affected by brain injuries.
This news melted my heart, as someone very close to me has a similar story to Emilia and has struggled endlessly to find a decent neruo rehab program. Just because someone relearns how to say their name, it does not negate the fact that they’re missing half their brain. Just because someone find a way to function post-op, it doesn’t mean they’re the same. Emilia clearly gets it, and I think she’ll help others better understand that brain-injured does equate to vegetative.
Whether or not my loved on personally benefits from the program, this has been his vision for years, brought to life by someone with the right resources and connections. What a beautiful gift that is!
I’m tearing up now because, finally, someone in the public eye is bringing awareness to brain injury in young people, embodying the reality that people can make a full(ish) recovery from aneurysm/stroke/encephalitis/craniotomy, and insisting that we have the opportunity to help such individuals. Humans are resilient creatures, the brain is apt to compensate for its missing bits, and those affected by brain injury or stroke should not be viewed as lost causes. Rather, view should view them as inspiration–a reminder than anything and everything is possible!
I am so incredibly hopeful for the program and I feel eternally grateful to Emilia for sharing her story and helping change the conversation! Whether or not she realizes it, her gesture has made a lot of marginalized–young, brain-injured and semi-functional–individuals feel seen, understood and cared for. I can assure you that the proper infrastructure and medical training does not currently exist, even within the leading neurological institutions within the US.
If you have the means and the interest, I encourage you to donate to SameYou and support research and rehabilitation for young people affected by brain injury and stroke. Thank you!