26-year-old twin sisters, Zoe Buxton and Lucy Fretwell, from Northern Ireland, are slowly turning to stone. They are one of just three twins across the globe to have the rare condition. Both sisters suffer from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and are slowly being turned into stone by a one-in-two-million genetic condition.
The condition has affected just 800 people worldwide
The condition has affected just 800 people worldwide. It causes muscle tissue and tendons to be replaced by bone, gradually reducing movement. The sisters have suffered the effects from a young age as both were born with small bony lumps on their toes, a common sign of FOP. However doctors ignored the sign at that time. Now the condition is causing their muscle tissue and tendons to be replaced by bone.
Their parents tried to hide the condition from them
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.
What is FOP?
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare genetic condition that affects one in two million people in the world. In this condition, the bones form in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues causing the bones to replace the muscles and tendons forming a second skeleton. As the bones develop across the joints, it restricts the movement.