A SCUBA diving instructor has set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising £19,000 for an operation to fix a hole in his heart.

27-year-old Jack Franklin, from Moreton-in-Marsh, found out he has congenital heart disease just last month.

Jack, who works as a scuba diving instructor, said the operation will reduce his chance of a stroke by 80%, but said it isn't currently available on the NHS.

He says the operation will allow him to get back to his career as a diving instructor.

Posting on his GoFundMe page, Jack said: "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, so you and your support is the only chance I have of fixing it.

"The operation will reduce my chance of stroke by 80%.

"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%. However, for me, not only is the thought of stroke at any time debilitating in its own right, this defect has now put a stop to my life passion, and career as a scuba diver and instructor, as well as my ability to physically work hard due to the high risk of stroke. "

Jack found out he had the defect while he was out diving and developed a skin rash.

"I found out I had this defect when I suffered from what is commonly known as 'the bends' after a deep, technical dive to 40m.

"The dive plan was calculated with minimal obligatory decompression (eight minutes), the dive profile was conservative and it was an all-round, controlled and safe dive with a slow ascent.

"After the dive, I noticed an unusual and large red rash around my stomach and ribs which later turned out to be a 'skin bend'.

"In divers, we take into our body abnormally high levels of nitrogen which is from the compressed air we breathe, due to the pressure at depth. We follow strict procedures to 'off-gas' the nitrogen to prevent bubbles from forming in our blood and to prevent any form of decompression illness. "However, due to my hole in the heart, the nitrogen is unable to escape my body and essentially gets re-circulated back around my system. The best-case scenario in this event is a skin bend, as those bubbles form under the skin, the worse case is a bubble finding its way to the brain, which leads to an aneurysm and potentially causes death, or at least catastrophic injury. So I was incredibly lucky to only suffer a minor bend.

"Scuba diving is my sole passion in life, It's the only professional qualification I hold and I have invested thousands of pounds in my development as an instructor, equipment, and courses to extend my depth and range into deeper, technical and exploratory diving.

"I run a diving group known as Dive Instructor Jack, I am an instructor with two clubs and I am very proud to have been asked to join as a Regional Instructor for the British Sub Aqua Club. If I am not diving, I am thinking about diving or talking about diving to my friends."

"Being told that I can't do this anymore has caused me an incredible level of stress and anxiety and has made me generally sad and depressed at the prospect of having to give it up. In addition to this, now knowing that at any time I could suffer a stroke, from heavy lifting, or stressing my heart through movement or exercise feels incredibly debilitating and has made me feel somewhat worthless.

"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."

A spokeswoman for the NHS, said: "Congenital heart disease describes a range of abnormalities and conditions. In the South West surgical procedures are funded by the NHS where appropriate, using eligibility criteria based on guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Evidence (NICE).

“We are not able to comment specifically on individual cases."

Information made available by the NHS, states:"NHS England commissions surgery for the closure of a Patent Foramen Ovale - this is a hole between two chambers of the heart which usually closes over during infancy but can be present in a significant proportion of the population.

"In many cases it goes undetected and causes no complications. There is evidence that for some patients who suffer strokes that are otherwise unexplained, PFO closure can reduce the chances of repeat strokes. The National Institute for Health and Care Evidence (NICE) has undertaken an independent review of this evidence and issued guidelines for treatment. NHS England commissions the closure procedure using eligibility criteria which are based on the NICE guidelines."

To donate for Jack's operation, visit bit.ly/3kdZWeB