Defying the odds has become part of everyday life for a Winchester woman who has lived with Huntington’s Disease for more than 20 years.

Lily Rankin recently celebrated her 47th birthday, 13 months after her family was told she had just days to live.

During a lengthy stay at Southampton’s Countess Mountbatten Hospice, Lily had dangerously high calcium levels, which were not responding to treatment, alongside other complications.

Doctors predicted she would have, at best, a few weeks to live but miraculously her calcium levels returned to normal.

“It was incredible, nobody could really believe it,” said Lily’s husband, Stuart, 44, who retired from the military to care for her.

“Doctors could not give a medical explanation for it.

“Lily always said when she was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease that she wanted to enjoy life and today, she still is enjoying life.

“There is no cure for Huntington’s and very little research has been done around people living with it for so long, so we just do our best to enjoy every day as much as we can.”

While Stuart cares for Lily full time, the couple get support at home from Countess Mountbatten Hospice’s community team, which covers Southampton and surrounding areas up to Winchester.

Lily has also spent more time in the hospice, four admissions in total, since her stay in 2018.

“I was always against Lily going into the hospice as it was not what I wanted for her,” said Stuart, who now regularly raises funds for Countess Mountbatten.

“I had very different impression of what I thought it was like but I could not have been more wrong.

“It’s a very tranquil, calming place and while it may sound strange, Lily and I have always enjoyed our time at the hospice, it is so different to being in hospital.

“The care we have been given has just been amazing throughout, we cannot fault anything.

“At the most difficult times, the staff and volunteers were always finding ways to help and they mean an awful lot to us.”