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A Mom Adopted Her Best Friend's Four Daughters After Their Mother Died Of Cancer

"If something gets thrown at you, just accept the challenge and do the best you can."

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In 2014, Diamond was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. The single mom of four daughters asked Ruffino if she would take her children if something happened, and Ruffino said she instantly said yes.

“As she started to weaken, you can imagine the fears that I had for the girls and being without her," Ruffino told the TV station.


After fighting the disease for months, Diamond passed away in April. Shortly after her death, Ruffino, her husband, Rico, and their two daughters welcomed Diamond's girls into their home.

Now, their upstate New York community is working together to help the Ruffino family financially adjust to their new additions.

Elizabeth Diamond co-founded the Buffalo Wellness Center, a holistic nonprofit, and dedicated her life to helping others.

Another co-founder, Rebecca Joy Lesniak, told BuzzFeed News she had promised Diamond she would carry on her message of helping those in need.

"I promised her that she wouldn’t be forgotten," she said.

Lesniak and the rest of the center decided to set up an online fundraiser to help support the Ruffino family, and the family's story soon spread throughout the web. To date, the center's efforts have raised $24,000.

Other community members also got involved, organizing a benefit for the Ruffino family in the community to be held Aug. 30.

Lesniak said she is amazed how quickly Diamond's story is spreading throughout the country, adding that she believes it's a sign Diamond that is still making an impact on the world.

"What shocks me is she is continuing her work someplace else," she said.

As for the family, they're adjusting as best as they can. "Ten years ago, I didn’t think this would be my life," Rico Ruffino told WKBW. "But if something gets thrown at you, just accept the challenge and do the best you can."

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at

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