Game of Thrones Fans on Reddit Raise Over $100K for Emilia Clarke's Charity

While some Game of Thrones fans have set up petitions to express their displeasure with how the popular HBO fantasy series' final season played out, there are other fans who have opted to use their energy to do something else by starting an online fundraiser for Daenerys Targaryen actor Emilia Clarke's charity, SameYou. Now, a little over two weeks since the fundraiser was launched, fans have raised over $100,000 for the cause.

The Twitter account for SameYou, a charity founded by Clarke and dedicated to increasing access to rehabilitation services after brain injury and stroke for young people, posted earlier this week that the fundraiser had crossed the significant monetary milestone and thanked fans by posting a Dubsmash video of Clarke lip synching to "Simply the Best".

The fundraising effort originated on the Game of Thrones-centric Reddit forum r/Freefolk and was launched on the JustGiving online charitable donation site by Freefolk member Elle Ellaria to "collectively do something nice for Emilia". As of the writing of this article, the JustGiving fundraiser has raised £106,438 (roughly $135,602) which stands at 85% of their £125,000 ($159,250) goal.

The charity it supports, SameYou, is a personal one for Clarke. In a deeply personal piece published earlier this year in The New Yorker entitled "A Battle for My Life", Clarke revealed her own experiences with brain-related illness and detailed a near-death experience with a brain aneurysm after the first season of Game of Thrones.

"On the morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad headache coming on. I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers," Clarke wrote. "When I started my workout, I had to force myself through the first few exercises. Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn't. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. 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 would reveal that Clarke had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), "a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain." A serious condition, roughly a third of SAH patients die immediately or soon after and of those who survive with treatment, there is a high risk of a second bleed. After her SAH, Clarke underwent a "minimally invasive" three-hour brain surgery and, after a few weeks’ recovery, she returned to Game of Thrones for Season 2, but her struggles would continue. Not only did she describe Season 2 as being very difficult for her due to constant fear for her life, a brain scan after filming Season 3 revealed that she would need another, more invasive surgery after a growth on the side of her brain had doubled in size. She noted in The New Yorker piece that she is "now at a hundred percent" with the experience leading her to develop the SameYou charity.


“Beyond my work as an actor, I’ve decided to throw myself into a charity I’ve helped develop in conjunction with partners in the U.K. and the U.S. It is called SameYou, and it aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. I feel endless gratitude—to my mum and brother, to my doctors and nurses, to my friends. Every day, I miss my father, who died of cancer in 2016, and I can never thank him enough for holding my hand to the very end.”

Donations to SameYou can be made via JustGiving.

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