NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Helping a stranger may have saved the life of a Staten Island woman.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the Good Samaritan, Denise Ramos-Salazar, believes God pulled her out of her car to help an elderly woman walking in a snowstorm last month.

“I see her walking, and I say, ‘She needs help. I can’t leave,'” Ramos-Salazar said.

The 39-year-old married mother of three said she took off her shoes for traction, then helped a 78-year-old woman navigate the icy street to a Bible study at Debbie Vale’s Staten Island home.

“Denise took off her shoes, in bare socks, came up and brought her to my door, which for me was amazing,” Vale said.

After dropping off the elderly woman, Ramos-Salazar, her feet soaking wet, made her way down a steep hill. She was just 10 feet away from her car when she fell.

“I was walking … and all of a sudden, I just felt my head hit the pavement really hard,” Ramos-Salazar said.

Ramos-Salazar went to the hospital, where a CAT scan revealed she had a golf ball-sized brain tumor that may have been growing for five to 10 years.

Doctors say the tumor, which they believe is benign, could have caused long-term issues such as seizures or paralysis if it had remained undetected. Ramos-Salazar’s family believes the discovery is the work of a higher power.

“We don’t know why these things happen, why it happens to some people and not others,” said her sister, Tina Patsakos. “But the fact that this happens helps to build your faith even more.”

“This really came about because I was helping someone … and it was revealed to me,” Ramos-Salazar said.

She is scheduled to have surgery to remove the tumor at the end of the month.

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