Twin sisters are slowly being turned into stone by a one-in-two-million genetic condition.
Zoe Buxton and Lucy Fretwell, 26, suffer from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a condition that affects just 800 people worldwide.
It causes muscle tissue and tendons to be replaced by bone, gradually reducing movement.
Zoe and Lucy, from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, have suffered the effects from a young age.
Both were born with small bony lumps on their toes, a common sign of FOP – but doctors did not pick up on it at the time.
Zoe, a fashion blogger said: ‘When I was five, I fell off the sofa and broke my elbow.
‘We thought it was a normal injury until the cast came off and I couldn’t straighten my arm – it was agony if I tried.
‘While we didn’t know it then, the bone that had formed over the joint was a result of FOP.’
She was diagnosed along with Lucy, aged eight, but their parents tried to hide the condition from them.
Lucy tripped over at school when she was 11 and hurt the back of her neck.
The resulting bone growth left her unable to raise her arms over head.
The same year, Zoe broke her leg falling off a scooter and was unable to straighten it.
FOP can worsen over time, and they are both likely to lose mobility in more of their body.
Zoe uses crutches to walk, but sometimes needs a wheelchair for long trips away from home.
She is eager to start a family with husband Mike Buxton, 29, but there is a 50 per cent chance she could pass on FOP to her child.
Lucy is considering adoption with fiancé Michael Smyth, 27 as having children ‘isn’t an option at the moment.’
The twins are now undergoing clinical trials in London for a new drug that might help their condition.
So far, neither have experienced more bone growth.
Zoe said: ‘It’s early days, and our injuries are irreversible.
‘But we’re so positive about the future, and we refuse to let our condition stop us from living life to the full.’
Lucy said she occasionally feels guilty because she has more mobility than Zoe.
She added: ‘We support each other through the bad days and have also joined an awareness group to meet other people with FOP.
‘It helps to spend time with other sufferers, because everyone knows what you’re going through.
‘Zoe and I will always have each other, and we’ll never let our condition hold us back.’