METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - We have an update tonight to the story of Lauran Mayeaux, the remarkable eighth-grade honor student whose family desperately needed a new van.
Many viewers reached out to help, and Nicondra Norwood caught up with the family during a special visit to the Saints' training facility.
"We just get it done," said Melissa Mayeaux. Lauran's mother. "We have to do it!"
That's the attitude that pushed Melissa to spearhead a fundraising effort when Lauran's handicap-accessible van broke down in December.
"So we are just going to continue to do raffles and things as we get items and donations, and hopefully by the end of this we can have a decent tally," Melissa said.
The whole family, including Lauran, who was born with a rare condition that caused her to have no skeletal muscle, were all excited to be invited to the training facility. Meeting Tom and Gayle Benson wasn't on the agenda.
But the real surprise was still to come.
"Oh my God," Melissa said. "No way - that is not a key to a car."
"When we first saw the story on TV is when we wanted to help out," Tom Benson said.
"I think this is absolutely incredible," Lauran said.
"I had no idea," Melisa said. "I thought we were coming in to be interviewed."
"It's fabulous," Lauran said. "It smells really good, too. I love it so much."
"She's a beautiful child, beautiful family," said Gayle Benson.
"Very nice," Tom Benson said. "We are glad to be a part of it."
Crescent Vans provided the family with a free rental a couple of weeks ago.
"It's always a struggle with those wooden ramps and umbrellas and trying to get her in, and with those ramps," Melissa said. "The last week with all this rain, it has just been so much easier to just get up in the morning, press that button, get in that car and go."
"Oh I don't even know," Lauran said. "Thank you so much. They are fabulous. Everybody has just been so fabulous lately."
"It's something I'll never forget, and I'll always pay it forward in the community from now on, just from the support we have had from everyone else, as well," Melissa said.
The Mayeauxs send out their thanks to everyone in the community that came together to raise $14,000 - mostly since their story first aired on FOX 8. It's just sinking in that they won't need that money for the down payment on a van, but they assure everyone that it will be put to good use, possibly toward a handicap-accessible bathroom in their home.