It began as a promise made between two friends and it ultimately brought two families together.
“She said if anything ever happens to me I want you to take my girls, and I instantly said 'OK',” Laura Ruffino told 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo.
It was a conversation both Ruffino and her best friend Elizabeth Diamond had following Diamond's diagnosis of stage four brain cancer in August 2014.
“As she started to weaken, you can imagine the fears that I had for the girls and being without her,” said Ruffino.
In April 2015, Ruffino’s fear became a reality. Diamond lost her battle with brain cancer leaving behind four daughters. She and her husband Rico instantly opened their home and their hearts to the girls.
“Ten years ago I didn’t think this would be my life. But if something gets thrown at you, just accept the challenge and do the best you can,” Rico said.
The couple says the Ruffino-Diamond family is taking their new lifestyle head-on. The four new additions – Lily, Ella, Samona and Tara, ages five to 12 – keep them busy.
Doubling a family nearly overnight doesn’t come without challenges. Many aspects of the family’s life needed to be upgraded. The table needed to be replaced to accommodate four extra chairs, and the family needed a bigger fridge – both of which were donated.