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Jack's plea for help to fund life saving heart operation

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A HOLE in the heart has left diving instructor Jack Franklin with a stark choice: raise £19,000 or wait for a heart attack.

Jack Franklin can’t wait to get back in the water to continue his diving career. Photo: Mark Williamson M23/2/21/2308. (44452592)
Jack Franklin can’t wait to get back in the water to continue his diving career. Photo: Mark Williamson M23/2/21/2308. (44452592)

The 27-year-old has launched an appeal to raise the cash for a private operation after being told he wouldn't get NHS treatment unless he suffered a heart attack or stroke.

He was diagnosed in January with congenital heart disease, known as a hole in the heart.

The former Chipping Campden School student told the Herald that daily life was now like having a cloud hanging over his head: he knows it could rain at any time, but just doesn't know when.

The condition has also deprived Jack of his career as a self-employed scuba diver and instructor.

After a series of bubble echo cardiograms, Dr Mark Turner, a cardiologist and lead specialist in heart holes at Spire Hospital, Bristol, told Jack a closure operation was essential and would actually be cheaper than an after-care package, but Jack has already been informed the NHS won't do the procedure.

Jack, from Moreton-in-Marsh, said: "I saw Dr Turner last Wednesday and I knew I had no chance of having the operation on the NHS. The next day, Thursday, I was really down and then on Friday my girlfriend Kirsty Manning and I decided to launch a fundraising campaign and it raised £3,500 in 72 hours.

"I've never taken anything out of the system and this has all been very daunting for me but the community have been superb.

"It's caused a mixture of emotions. Everything I know and have worked for the last four years has, without my will, been taken from me. The only thing that would allow me to carry on diving is having this incredibly expensive heart surgery paid for."

On Jack's Gofundme page he wrote: "After a redundancy from Covid-19 in 2020, I am not in a position to pay for this myself and I do not have anybody who would volunteer this value of money.

"This defect is one of the biggest known causes of stroke in young people without any other underlying health issues. This type of stroke is caused by a blood clot finding its way into the arterial chamber of my heart, crossing over through the hole in the heart.

"For most people, the clot would disperse and break down in the veins and never cause an issue. My danger is that a clot will be re-pumped through my arteries and go to the brain.

"The majority of those who learn they have this defect only find out after they suffer from a stroke or heart attack as it usually poses little or no symptoms. By having this operation, my chances of having a stroke are believed to be reduced by around 80 per cent."

To support Jack's fundraising, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/operation-fix-jack's-heart.

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