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This incredible woman is adopting her dying friend's three kids

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Time.com, Brain, Mother, The Rumpus, Scary Mommy and Narratively, among others.

To help her dying friend, Missy Armstrong is stepping up in an amazing way

Missy Armstrong and her friend Sara have been close friends since they met in hair school in 1999. Seventeen years later, Sara is dying, and Missy has decided to give her friend one last Christmas gift: She is going to adopt Sara's three children.

Sara (last name not provided) is 36 years old. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010, and is currently in the hospice in the final stages of ALS. She is not expected to make it to Christmas. Sara is also a single mother of three kids, ages 11, 9 and 8. Said Armstrong to local Illinois WQAD 8 News, "She said she can deal with the fact that she's dying, but she can't deal with the fact that her kids will be split [up]."

Now, they won't be.

Sara's friends, who obviously dearly love her, are doing everything they can to make sure that her kids will be taken care of this Christmas and will stay together under one roof. When Armstrong told Sara she would adopt her kids, she said that Sara, "...just bawled and was like, 'Are you kidding me?' And she said, 'You swear? and I said, 'Yeah.'"

Armstrong already has two children of her own. She works seven days a week, receives $900 a month from SSI and is ineligible for food stamps or other government assistance because her income is over the threshold. So another friend of Sara's, Rhonda DeBruyn, has also taken to Facebook to make sure that Sara's kids have some kind of Christmas during what is sure to be a horribly painful time.

In a post she wrote on Dec. 5, DeBruyn detailed Sara's situation and wrote: "I don't ask for a whole lot so this is pretty serious...I want these kids to have a Xmas, after all, they may not have their mother to wake up to so I would like them to have something to look forward to." Debruyn asked for donations of toys, clothes or "anything at all." She is also trying to raise money to help Armstrong put down money for a new house to raise all five kids in. The down payment is due on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.

Since then, DeBruyn has been overwhelmed by the response and says gifts for the kids have been pouring in. Sara's kids, thanks to the astonishing generosity of her closest friends, will not only have gifts on Christmas, but they will have someone who will love them and care for them — together — for the rest of their lives.

If you would like to make a donation, there is an account under the name Melissa Armstrong at the Southeast National Bank in Milan, Illinois.

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