We’re Sobbing Reading Emilia Clarke’s Letter to the Healthcare Workers Who Saved Her Life
The 'Game of Thrones' star survived brain aneurysms in 2011 and 2013.
Emilia Clarke didn't just play one of the strongest, most badass characters in Game of Thrones, but she also has the same resilience in real life. After surviving brain aneurysms in 2011 and 2013, the actress had to work extra hard to rebuild that strength, and she was looked after by countless healthcare professionals who helped her along the way. Now, she’s taking time to thank every single one of them in a heartfelt letter of gratitude.
As part of a new book edited by Adam Kay called Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, in which 100 celebrities share their stories, Clarke thanks the many unsung heroes of Britain's National Health Service. The book is dedicated to the thousands of cooks, cleaners, porters, and medical staff working to defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Clarke’s touching story shows just how many people came together to save her life during a critical time.
“The memories I will hold dearest, though, are ones that fill me with awe: of the nurses and doctors, I knew by name when, in the weeks after my first brain hemorrhage, we watched the passing of time and the passing of patients in the Victor Horsley Ward at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London," she wrote.
"The nurse who suggested—after everyone else in A&E struggled to find an answer when I was first admitted—that maybe, just maybe I should have a brain scan. She saved my life," Clarke wrote.
The Me Before You actress first revealed her diagnosis in a March 2019 essay for The New Yorker where she explained that she had survived not just one but two brain aneurysms: the first in 2011, after wrapping the first season of Game of Thrones and the second in 2013.
Her letter breaks down the unique role each worker played in her recovery. She thanks the nurses: "who washed my body with care and love when I couldn't walk or sit”; the cleaners: "who mopped the floor when my bedpan fell to the ground”; and the cooks: "who made my fish in white sauce with peas every day, despite it being a child's meal."
In closing, Clarke specifically thanks the nurse who permitted her mother to stay in the hospital room just a bit longer, despite the other patients’ relatives being asked to leave.
“In all those moments, over those three weeks, I was not, not ever, truly alone,” she said.