Northern Ireland

FOP: Instagram star who is turning to bone

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Media captionFOP: Instagram and my one-in-a-million illness

Zoe Buxton can't get herself dressed or do her own hair, yet she sustains a following of fashion and lifestyle enthusiasts with her blog and Instagram account.

The 27-year-old has a degenerative condition which causes her muscles to turn to bone.

Her arms are fixed in place, her left hip is fixed, and she could wake up tomorrow with her jaw locked in place.

It is known as FOP, or Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, and affects just one in every million people.

Image copyright Zoe Buxton
Image caption Zoe Buxton has a degenerative condition which causes her muscles to turn to bone

Even more remarkably, Zoe's twin sister also suffers from the condition.

There is no cure for FOP.

"It is difficult, don't get me wrong," she tells BBC News NI, in between Instagram stories and posing for those oh-so-candid what-I-wore-today outfit shots.

"On Instagram there are the poses, everyone knows the poses, but I can't do any of those so I'm just standing there with my two crutches."

Zoe's husband, Mike, is on hand to take pictures, curl her hair and even help her into her clothes.

The couple met through a Facebook game ten years ago, and have been married since 2012.

"Mike is amazing," says Zoe.

Image copyright Zoe Buxton
Image caption Zoe with her husband Mike

"I need his help for most things and the fact he is interested in photography means he is happy to take and edit the pictures for my account."

Zoe, from Ballymena, County Antrim, first realised she had the condition when she broke her leg as a child and it then became locked in place.

She was relying on a wheelchair some of the time from her teenage years and recalled how difficult it was.

"It's the time of your life when you are worrying about what people think of you," she says.

"I try not to worry too much about that now.

"Sometimes I worry about my crutches or wheelchair being in the pictures, but people have told me that they don't see those, they just see the clothes.

Image copyright Zoe Buxton
Image caption Zoe has always loved fashion

"I love fashion and have always loved putting looks together, that's why I started out on Instagram.

"I also feel like getting up every morning and getting dressed, even if you aren't doing anything, it is a really important thing for anyone with a life-limiting condition or who finds themselves low quite often.

"Having this to focus on really helps me and I hope it helps someone else out there to see me doing it too."