There’s a lot to be said for someone who comforts you through fear. It’s for that reason Emilia Clarke is praising the EMTs and nurses who helped her following her terrifying brain aneurysms (and subsequent complications) in 2011 and 2013. According to the Game of Thrones star, it was the kindness and care shown by these total strangers that saw her through some of the scariest moments of her life.

So, it surely wasn’t a difficult task to decide who she wanted to give a major shout-out to in People magazine’s first-ever Kindness Issue. “It was a brain aneurysm that ruptured, and it was pretty traumatic,” Clarke explained, pointing out that the first responders who were with her in those first few harrowing moments somehow made the entire ordeal… almost enjoyable. “The paramedics were unbelievable. They’d given me drugs so I was in less pain, wrapped me up like a tortilla and made me laugh the whole way to the hospital. There I was, bleeding in the brain, and there we were in this ambulance having an absolute giggle. They were so gracious.”

Once at the hospital, Clarke became aware of another kind of medical superhero: nurses, who she insists were “so kind” to her. “It’s why I became ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing in 2018. Nurses are the unsung heroes,” Clarke gushed. “They’re at people’s most frightening moments.”

It was, in part, the excellent care Clarke received from those paramedics and nurses that inspired her to help others have the same sort of positive experience in an otherwise traumatic moment in their lives.

“The whole experience inspired me to launch my charity SameYou,” she explained. “People’s lives are transformed completely after a brain injury, and the core of our work is recovery — it’s not just the first weeks that you need help, you still need help for years. I wanted to match someone with a consistent person who has the answers and can hold their hand and tell them that they’re not alone. Being there when someone is scared, confused or angry is one of the kindest things you can do.”

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