Feb 10, 2011 7:43 PM by Nicole Vandeputte

Woman writes powerful song using just her toe

A Pueblo woman's song is topping the local country charts, despite her no longer having a voice. Natalie Fognani is trapped inside a body that is barely working.
She can no longer speak, but her message can be heard all over Pueblo.

Fognani is suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. She was diagnosed 4 years ago. It's slowly robbed her of her ability to use her hands, or speak. Her only way of communicating is with her toe. She uses it to type on a computer. That computer then voices her words. She spoke with us through her caregiver, Jessica Bond.

She says her song started as a poem. She wrote it after Thanksgiving of 2009. Speaking for Fognani, Jessica says, "It occurred to me that most people take it for granted that they can talk and hug and kiss. I had taken all those things for granted. How was I to know I'd be in this condition." That's the message of her poem, a life taken for granted. "I looked forward to retirement, a next vacation. I took my good health for granted, friendships and relationships. I didn't thank god enough for the blessings in my life," says Jessica.

Thanks to the dying wish program at Sangre de Cristo Hospice in Pueblo, that poem was sent to country singer Lucas Hoge in Nashville. He brought Natalie's words to life in the song, titled "How was I to know."

What no one expected was the song's instant success. Dave Moore is the program director at KIQN Country 106.9 in Pueblo. He was told about the song, and played it for the first time about 2 weeks ago. He says the first time it played the phones lit up. Moore says, "It's, I would say, one of the two most requested songs we have on the radio."

It's struck a chord with listeners. That's the gift Natalie leaves behind. She says, "I hope they won't take anything or anyone for granted, to be thankful for what they have, and can do." A powerful message of living from a woman who didn't get to live enough.

That song is available on iTunes, just search Lucas Hoge. They hope to soon get it played at radio stations across the country. On Friday, Lucas Hoge is flying in from Nashville to meet Fognani face to face. On Saturday, he will hold a benefit concert for her in Pueblo. It will be at the Family Worship Center at 1 p.m. That is near the YMCA off Pueblo Boulevard.

If you would like to help with the "Dying wish" program at Sangre de Cristo hospice, call 719-542-0032.



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