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An Illinois woman is giving one last gift to her dying best friend: legally adopting her children.

When Sara Hankins learned she had a fatal neurological disease, her main concern was what would happen to her four kids after she passed away.

Her longtime friend Missy Armstrong has risen to the occasion.

Armstrong is in the process of legally adopting three of Hankins' four children - ages 8, 9 and 11. She will also take in her oldest child, who is 18 years old.

"I thought, yeah, I can do this," Armstrong, who has two children of her own, told Today. "I love them, and I've known them their whole lives. I make a decent living. I have the support of her family."

Armstrong and Hankins have been best friends since they met in hairdressing school in 1999.

"She would grab her kids and come to my house, or I would grab my kids and go to her house. We were always together," Armstrong said.

Hankins was diagnosed was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, last year and is now in hospice care at her mother's house.

She told Today she was shocked when she learned that Armstrong had offered to adopt her children.

"I couldn't stop crying," she said. "My number one concern was keeping my kids together, because I think what they're going to go through is hard enough."

Armstrong said she wanted to be sure the kids had a loving home and got to stay together.

“And that’s of course what Sara wants," Armstrong said. "We’ve been best friends and we love each other. And I love the kids.”

Share your reaction to this incredible story in the comments!


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