Doneen's Page


Here I am giving my acceptance speech.

  I have been volunteering about three days per week at our local nursing home for quite a few years. On May 9, 2007, I found out that I had been selected for the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association Adult Volunteer of the Year for the state of North Carolina. The awards luncheon for the recipients and their families was held on August 8, 2007, at the Marriott Grand Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Jeanne Robertson, a humorist and Miss North Carolina in 1962, provided the entertainment. We got to spend some quality time with her before the luncheon. I also enjoyed meeting the other recipients and hearing their stories. While at the beach, I went parasailing for the first time - it was quite an adventure!

Here I am pictured with the other volunteers who received awards, as well as humorist Jeanne Robertson. 


Here I am (with my nephew Nathan) being "reeled in" after our parasailing adventure.


Left to right: WFMY-TV news anchors Sandra Hughes, Rosemary Plybon (whom I first met in pre-school), and Kent Bates.

Giving my acceptance speech.



Each year, at our local TV station, WFMY in Greensboro, NC, hundreds of people submit applications with the hope of receiving the “2 Those Who Care Award.” This recognition is given to deserving people who spend numerous hours each week doing volunteer work — helping needy people to have a better life. I received this honor on August 22, 2005, at a banquet held at the Koury Convention Center at the Sheraton Hotel in Greensboro. My cousin submitted my story telling about the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I prepare for Samaritan’s Purse (I did 56 in 2004), the many cards I send each week, and most of all the many hours I spend at our local nursing home helping residents play Bingo along with various other activities. What an exciting evening we had at the “2 Those Who Care’ banquet!

In addition to this honor, I received the Laity Service Award from my church for 2005. This award is given to a deserving person who is busy in the church as well as in the community helping those in need. I traveled to Lake Junaluska, our church headquarters, to receive this honor along with all the other people in our half of the state who received the award from their churches.

Needless to say, I am truly humbled and thankful to have received this recognition.


In July of 2001, I found out that I had been selected to be a torch-bearer in the torch relay preceding the 2002 Winter Olympics. My cousin, Denise Young, wrote an essay about me and sent it to the Olympic committee, and I was one of a very small percentage of nominees who were selected. I could have never dreamed of such an honor happening to me! I carried the torch in Charlotte, North Carolina, on December 5, 2001. Many of my friends and family were in attendance. It was a real joy and tremendous honor for me to be a torch bearer! I was on "cloud nine" for several weeks following the event, as I shared my story of the torch relay with two local newspapers, two elementary school classrooms, my church, and several other local organizations.
Hi! My name is Doneen Key. I was born on January 31, 1975 with multiple birth defects known as Apert Syndrome. Since you are reading this, I am sure you are aware what my involvements have been throughout my life. Like most Apert people, it has been necessary for me to make many journeys to the operating room-27 in all. Life has not been easy. Those who know me are aware of the many disappointments, trials, and tribulations that have resulted due to my birth defects. There were speech classes, hearing aids, special glasses, being mistreated by my school classmates, surgeries that failed, operations that refused to heal on their own. I have been talked down to by many, whispered about, shunned, pointed at, neglected, and laughed at; but despite all that, my life has been overrun with good, positive times. I have hundreds of friends, including many in other states across the U.S.A.
Because my parents like to travel, I have been to almost every state. I am an autograph collector, and I have more than 500 autographs in my collection. Most were gotten in person. Because of my parents' business of publishing celebrity books, I probably have met and seen more than 1000 celebrities. I have seen Gene Autry, Dale Evans, Donna (Elly Mae Clampett) Douglas, Charlton Heston, Don Knotts, almost all gospel singing performers, and numerous country music entertainers including Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Acuff, Garth Brooks and Vince Gill.

I love to sing myself. I like to sing songs on the humorous side, gospel songs, country, and classic pop. I decided that I wanted to go into a recording studio a few years ago to make a tape of just me singing. My dad said it was not necessary to be a very good singer as long as I did the very best I could do, and if I had a good time doing it. I had such a great time making the first tape that in 1999 I went back and cut another session of songs for another project. The last tape is titled "Singing with Friends." One of the songs I recorded was a duet with my friend Polly of the singing Lewis Family, and one selection I sang with Jeff and Sheri Easter. I sell the tapes to my friends @ $5.00 each postpaid, which is near the actual cost.

I love to correspond via email. Feel free to contact me:

5 months old, before finger separations

2nd grade school photo. Note my smooth forehead following my second craniofacial surgery

Here I am with one of my favorite people, my nephew Nathan.

Here is one of my best friends, Kathy Hilton.

With James Best-remember him as Roscoe on "The Dukes of Hazzard" TV Show?

With Grammy Award-winner, Ricky Skaggs.

I love to sing. Here I am singing before an audience at the Asheville Film Festival.

Occasionally, I'm asked to sing with a Western band, The Rocky River Cowboys.

Some of my special friends, Janie, Mollie, Pat, and Marilyn.

This page was updated February 9, 2016

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