Sara Hankins, 36, of Milan, Illinois, died March 13 surrounded by family and friends.
Her story went viral in December after her best friend, Missy Armstrong, 42, agreed to adopt Hankins’ four children: Alexis, 18; Cayden, 11; Micah, 9; and Amara, 8.
“The thought of where they would go was killing her more than the ALS was,” Armstrong told People. “It consumed her everyday thoughts, because none of her family members were able to take in all four kids together.”
People reports the two met in cosmetology school in 1999 and have been friends ever since.
Armstrong is also a single mother with two children: Kairee, 14, and Alexa, 22.
“I hug Sara’s babies extra tight because she can’t hold them,” she said.
Hankins is survived by her mother, her four children, her siblings and their spouses, her grandparents, her seven nieces and nephews and “countless friends.”