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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Adelaide Key Remembered

The mountains have lost one of their greatest philanthropists. Adelaide Key died Wednesday after battling cancer. She spent her life, and her fortune, helping people.

That's the focus of the Mission Rathbun House, where families of cancer patients stay for free while their loved ones receive treatment. It's just one example of the joy she had, helping people get through tough times.

"When I was a kid, I had trouble with school, I was the underachiever, and I was the stupid kid," said Key in a previous interview with News 13 in 2011. Adeliade Key said she was different than most kids. She had trouble reading, and struggled with dyslexia. But she never forgot, that she wasn't alone. "I wanted them not to feel stupid, for people not to put them down, because it's not something they can help, and you can learn to live with it, so I started the Key School, and I'm proud of it," she said.

Eighteen years later, children at the Key Learning Center learn to live with it, to figure it out, to overcome a condition, just as Adelaide did. "I think they're generous, and they're very helpful, and they help a lot of kids learn how to divide words, and help them get through hard parts," says Selia Morgan of the Key Learning Center.

"I think Adelaide carried that part of her that she felt like she never quite conquered the reading, she never quite conquered. And she didn't want other children to have that feeling, when we know there's a wonderful way to teach these children. So that was her gift," says Key Learning Center Principal Diane Milner.

It was just one of her gifts. Others would also provide a foundation, for people facing life-threatening conditions. "And one night I literally woke up in the middle of the night, and said 'I know what I'm going to do, I'm going to build a house,'" said Key.

"She decided that she didn't want anybody to have to go through what she went through with the travel," says Mission Rathbun House Manager, Caryl Dean. Again, Adelaide chooses to fix a problem she encountered. This time, while receiving her own cancer treatments. She built a place for people to stay for free while loved ones are in the hospital. In the past 20 years, 57,000 people have served at the Mission Rathbun House.

"You know some people can't afford to pay at all, and that's why we don't charge, because we don't want them to feel guilty or upset because they can't pay," Key once said.

In each room, guests find a journal with a handwritten note from Adelaide, encouraging them to put their joys and fears into words. "People write in them, they pour their hearts out, volumes and volumes of these, thoughts and prayers, and they're just extraordinary to read them, they'll just make you cry," says Dean.

A celebration of Adelaide Key's life will be held Thursday at First Baptist Church in Asheville. She was 78-years-old.

For more on the Key Learning Center, click here.
For more on The Rathbun House, click here.


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