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SameYou appoints US ambassador

Brain injury survivor Chéri Ballinger aims to tackle the gaps in emotional and mental health recovery services



Global brain injury charity SameYou has announced its first US ambassador as it continues to expand its work and presence internationally.

Chéri Ballinger has been announced as the new ambassador of SameYou – the organisation co-founded by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke – to help tackle the gaps in emotional and mental health recovery services essential for brain injury and stroke survivors.

Chéri, a former model and actress and now film producer and entrepreneur, sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury in 2014 after a fall onto cement in an action scene on set.

Since her life-changing injury, Chéri’s four-year recovery has posed many challenges related to having female-specific symptoms that stifled medical officials.

As well as awareness raising for SameYou, Chéri will also look to advance the efforts of precision medicine research, attending events as an official SameYou representative and speaking publicly about the work of the charity in the US.

Chéri said: “My story directly aligns with the work of SameYou, which is why I’m honoured to become their first US ambassador.

“We need to break the silence around brain injury, considering the sobering fact that one in three people will be affected by brain injury. People need to be enabled and encouraged to speak out about their experiences, particularly those facing the problems around sex-specific testing.

“I am acutely aware that for me, I’ve been given a second chance, and I fully intend to help as many people as I possibly can. This is personal, and it’s my mission. I’m proud to represent SameYou in the United States.

“The reality is that you will know someone with a brain injury at some point in your life, and they will not receive the care they need. We’re looking to tackle this.”

In the last two years, over 10,000 people have written to SameYou explaining how they failed to receive the necessary therapies to help them recover from brain injury. The SameYou report analysed why survivors and their loved ones felt unable to move on after brain injury, which further strengthened SameYou’s vision is to transform the way brain injury survivors and their loved ones are supported through emotional, mental health and cognitive recovery services.

Jenny Clarke, co-founder of SameYou, said: “It’s fantastic to have Chéri on board with SameYou, her wealth of experience professionally is an asset to our networking efforts and her personal experience with brain injury gives her an authentic voice in the recovery revolution space.

“We’re aware of the unique gender-specific problems within brain injury and recovery, and Chéri is well-placed to address these problems so often faced by women recovering from brain injuries.

“Alarmingly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies rehabilitation as a substantial and ever-increasing unmet global need – not currently an integrated part of health services. Neuro-rehabilitation is among the most neglected and underfunded services, with the Stroke Association reporting that 45 per cent of stroke survivors feel abandoned once they’d left hospital.”