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Family Who Took in Friend's 6 Kids After Her Death is Surprised With $90,000 College Fund


A Virginia family of 11 just got the surprise of their lives as they were awarded a $90,000 college fund.

The shocking moment aired Monday on Rachael Ray's season premiere where the host awarded the family the massive fund. She also awarded the family brand new furniture from the Rachael Ray Home Collection.

Read: And Then There Were 9: Mom Adopts Cancer-Stricken Friend's 6 Kids After Her Death

Stephanie and Donnie Culley were already parents of three children, but in May, everything changed.

That was when Stephanie’s close friend, Beth Laitkep — a single mother of six — lost her battle with breast cancer. Before she died Laitkep asked Stephanie if she could take in her children.

The household then grew to 11 members after the Culleys obliged and welcomed the children, ranging in age from 2 to 15, into their home. 

"Me, being a mother, I could not imagine having to ask somebody that question,” Stephanie told Rachael Ray. “She chose me because we were very similar in our parenting styles, and she knew that I loved her kids and that my kids loved her kids.”

During Monday’s season premiere, the family was playing a Deal or No Deal-style game with an undisclosed amount of money in various briefcases. They had won $15,000 during the game but a coy Ray brought out a bonus case that had $75,000 in it, bringing the total to $90,000.

Read: How Family Is Adjusting to Life After Adopting Best Friend's 4 Daughters

The Culleys and their nine children were stunned and emotional to receive the massive gift.

“$90,000 to the college educations to these beautiful children who are now going to be super-smart children,” the host said.

In June, Stephanie told CBS News: “We’re grieving, but we know she’s with us… I’m not a saint. I’m not an angel. I’m not a hero. I just love these kids. To walk in the door and see all of them in the living room, dancing and playing and happy, that’s what it’s all about.”

Watch: These Receipt Notes and Generous Tips Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

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