As far as Laura and Rico Ruffino were concerned, their family was complete. They were the happy parents of two daughters and were leading a full and happy life. This was also the case for their friend Elizabeth Diamond, a single mother of four and a motivational trainer who made her living writing books. Laura and Elizabeth had met when they were in fifth grade and remained friends ever since.
Both women had wonderful lives. But in the summer of 2014, Elizabeth's luck ran out.
The 40-year-old mother of four received a terrible diagnosis: she had a brain tumor and it was at a very advanced stage. Elizabeth fought bravely against the cancer but she also had to consider what would happen to her family if she didn't make it. Will they have good lives? Will her daughters Lily, Ella, Samona and Tara stay together? Will they remain one family?

When Elizabeth felt the end was near, she told her childhood friend how much she feared for her children. Then she made the most important request of her life: "If something happens to me I want you to adopt my girls." And to her relief her lifelong friend didn't hesitate for a second and put her mind at ease with a simple "OK".
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It's safe to say that most people would have been much more hesitant to grant such a dying wish and even fewer would have actually kept the promise. But when Elizabeth passed away in April, Laura proved just how good a friend she was.
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Laura and Rico Ruffino welcomed Elizabeth's children into their home with open arms. It was a huge responsibility considering that they went from being a family of four to a family of eight overnight, but the Ruffinos did everything they could to make sure that their newly adopted daughters were as happy as possible. Together they helped them to overcome their grief and to move on with their lives.
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The emotional support that Elizabeth's children received from the Ruffinos helped them through a very tough time in their lives. But the addition of four new members put a great deal of financial strain on the family. This led Rico to an idea. He posted the story of their unique patchwork family on the internet and asked for donations to help them pay for food, clothing, dance lessons and the addition of two bedrooms to their house.

To date they have collected around $97,000 and, with the financial problem solved, they can now focus on helping their new daughters to heal emotionally and lead full and happy lives. The Ruffino sisters have already moved into one room together to make space for their adopted siblings and Elizabeth's daughters are quickly adjusting to their new home.
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It's not every day that you hear about such a helpful and selfless family that is willing to be there for a friend in need even after she has passed on. And for the Ruffinos, the smiling faces of their adopted children are all the reward they need for their kindness.
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It's a very moving story, a bit sad but with a very happy ending that shows us what true friendship is all about. 

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