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The cheerleader competing with a hole in her heart

From working as a nurse to training for the cheerleading world championships, Holly is taking on both with a heart condition that has led to two strokes and could threaten her life.

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a small flap-like opening between the top two chambers of the heart. In most cases it closes when you’re a baby but for some it stays open. This usually doesn’t cause any problems but it did for Holly Curthoys when a blood clot passed through it.

The 19-year-old from Bristol is now crowdfunding to try and raise £16,000 for an operation to close the hole, alongside training with Team England ParaCheer – a combination of disabled and non-disabled athletes – for the ICU World Championships.

Video journalist: Samantha Everett

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