A brave mother diagnosed with dementia at just 37 has had her right arm inscribed with a defiant tattoo that reads 'kiss my a*** Alzheimer's'.
Vicky Huntley, now 48, says the inking is her way of laughing in the face of the cruel illness that has caused her speech, memory and balance to deteriorate over the last decade.
She says it serves as a reminder of her vow to stay positive, even though the disease has claimed the lives of her mother, grandfather and great grandmother.
Speaking about her tattoo, Mrs Huntley, from Beckton, east London, said: 'I absolutely love it. One of the tiles on the picture is blank, to signify something missing.
'Whenever people see it, they want to take photos.'
Vicky Huntley, now 48, pictured with husband Martin, has the same disease that claimed the lives of her mother, grandfather and great grandmother which struck her at just 37
The mother-of-two says the inking is her way of laughing in the face of the cruel
'I didn't want to die the way mum did'
While Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, the incurable familial form Mrs Huntley has – which has plagued her family for generations – is caused by a mutation in a single gene, and is thought to affect just over 600 families worldwide.
Her mother Susan died of it at just 56, after spending the last 12 years of her life in a care home, while her grandfather passed away at 42, and her great-grandmother at 36.
So at 36, before experiencing any symptoms, Mrs Huntley decided to take a blood test to see if she carried the faulty gene – which tragically proved positive.
'I didn't want to die the way my mum had, so I decided to take the test,' said Mrs Huntley, who has now been forced to leave her job, working with disabled adults.
'I think, deep down, I knew I had the gene, so when I got the results, I was prepared.'
However for her husband, Martin, a bus driver, 52, the news came as a massive blow.
He said: 'I was worse than Vicky. She was the one comforting me.
'I'd been hoping and hoping it'd come back negative. What made it even harder was that Vicky's sister was being tested, too, but she hadn't had her results back yet.
'We didn't want to tell her and scare her, so we kept it secret. But her results were negative and she didn't have the gene.'
Telling the children
One of the most difficult tasks the couple faced was telling their children Leanne, 29, and Craig, 26 – knowing that their mother's result meant they, too, could possibly develop the disease in the future.
Mr Huntley continued: 'They were quite young at the time, so it was really hard. Even now, Craig finds it difficult to talk about, whereas Leanne is more open.
'Neither have taken the test themselves yet, but we're leaving that up to them. It has to be their choice.'
Mrs Huntley, who has been forced to give up her job working with disabled people, pictured making the most of life with her daughter Leanne
A year after Mrs Huntley's diagnosis, she and Martin were married in a church ceremony in east London's Walthamstow – throwing a huge party afterwards for all their loved ones.
Settling into life as newlyweds, at first, the progression of the disease was slow.
Then, she began to grow increasingly forgetful, also struggling with her speech and balance, meaning she had to quit her job.