A North Devon Royal Marine is hoping a life-changing operation will fix his broken heart.
Military diver Jamie Doxey, 28, serves at RMB Chivenor but almost died in a diving accident 18 months ago – tests have revealed he has a hole in his heart.
It was a cruel blow for the qualified diving instructor, whose passion is diving and sharing his skills with others.
Now he and his friends have launched an urgent fundraising campaign - St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London has agreed to do his heart operation at a greatly reduced price of £10,000, but on next Wednesday (March 28).
Unfortunately neither the military nor the NHS is prepared to pay for the operation because above water Jamie can lead a normal life, but he can never dive again.
So he has launched a Go Fund Me online page in the hope the money can be raised in time.
In return he is prepared to offer diving and surfing tuition – and anyone prepared to donate £1,000 will receive all the training they need to become an open water scuba diver.
During the ordeal he has been supported by his wife Chloe, who is five months pregnant with their first child, a son.
His friend Simon Metcalfe, a part time Royal Engineer officer, was with Jamie on the fateful day his diving career went so wrong and he says the memory will stay with him forever.
They were on one of the British military’s most difficult in-water courses (Expedition Sub Aqua Diving Supervisors course), when Jamie suffered a severe decompression injury some 12 miles offshore.
Simon said: “His dive buddy was completely fine, so everyone was puzzled as to why after so many years diving he had almost died.”
He was evacuated to a decompression chamber, slipping in and out of consciousness and remained inside for 13 hours.
Three weeks later in Bristol tests revealed he had a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) or a hole in the heart.
Jamie is still able to teach other divers, but can’t enter the water himself. In the meantime he has focussed on surfing and is a surf instructor with Walking the Waves at Saunton, as well as a qualified beach lifeguard.
He said: “I believed I was in peak physical condition, this news entirely knocked the wind out of my sails. I couldn’t comprehend after everything I’ve put my body through in my life, I could be suffering from this condition.
“I have just tried to keep the positive mental attitude and a lot of cheerfulness in the face of adversity and keep on with the tasks I can do.”
If you would like to support Jamie’s bid to dive again and to find out what is on offer in return for a donation, go to https://www.gofundme.com/JamiesHeartOp