In August 2014, Elizabeth Diamond was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. Diamond lived with her four daughters in New York but passed away this past April. However, her girls won’t be left without a family because Diamond’s best friend, Laura Ruffino promised to take her kids if anything happened to her.
Laura said the following about her relationship with Diamond: “So Liz and I met in fifth grade at a small Christian school in West Seneca. And from there, a lifelong friendship was born. No matter where we were, we just had fun.”
Laura explained, “She said if anything ever happens to me, I want you to take my girls. And I instantly said OK.” She added, “When the girls’ mom was dying, I made her two promises. I told her we would talk about her every day and her girls would know her and remember her — and I said I would somehow get them rooms of their own.”
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Diamond’s children are ages five to 12 and double the size of Ruffino’s family. Although it’s been an adjustment for Laura’s husband Rico, he’s happy about the four children joining their family.
Rico said, “Ten years ago, I didn’t think this would be my life. But it is. Something gets thrown at you, you just accept the challenge and do the best you can.”
Later Laura admitted that keeping the second part of her promise has been difficult because her house isn’t big enough for the girls to have their own room. Currently the Ruffino daughters, Grace, 12 and Isabella, 13, have given up their own rooms so the girls can be close to each other. Laura said, “We make it work. Every day we just make it work.”
Unfortunately, Good Morning America reported that legally the Ruffinos are in a custody battle with Diamond’s ex-husband, Elyson Pagayonan. He is fighting for permanent custody of his kids even though he and Diamond divorced four years ago. The Ruffino’s lawyer, Leonard Berkowitz, believes taking them away from Laura and Rico would be cruel.
He said, “They’re living with the family they know. It would be inhuman for them to be ripped from the only parents they now know.”
Learn more about the Ruffino family in the video below.