The community is reaching out to a beloved local native, singer Donna Fargo, who is battling back from a stroke.
Fargo, a Grammy-winning country music/pop legend known for such hit songs as “The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” was stricken earlier this month.
But Fargo, who is in her 70s and now a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, appears to be on the road to recovery, according to word from her husband, Stan Silver, on Sunday night.
“Since her stroke on December 4, Donna has gone from ICU (the intensive care unit), to a rehabilitation hospital,” Silver reported in providing the latest update on the singer’s condition.
“She is receiving speech therapy and undergoing occupational and physical therapy,” he mentioned. “She is also getting help with her handwriting. The stroke was on the left side of her brain, so her right side is affected more than her left.”
Fargo is expected to be released from the hospital next week, according to her husband, and continue with “every phase” of her rehabilitation therapy.
“She is discouraged, but trying to remain hopeful,” Silver added.
This is not Fargo’s first brush with a serious medical condition. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1978.
As the singer-songwriter undergoes rehabilitation, residents of the Mount Airy area are doing their part to provide moral support.
“Folks can sign a card,” said Jennie Lowry, a Downtown Business Association (DBA) official who also has a personal connection to Fargo through her late musician father Jimmy.
“My dad was her bandleader for 11 years,” Lowry said Tuesday, when she outlined how local residents can express get-well wishes to Fargo through the card on display at Mount Airy Visitors Center.
“It’s a giant card,” said Lowry. “The museum (Mount Airy Museum of Regional History) is kind of sponsoring this.”
As of Tuesday, the card was starting to fill up with handwritten messages. “I noticed yesterday that one of her classmates had signed it,” Lowry said of Fargo’s 1958 graduating class at Mount Airy High School.
“It’s available to sign at the Mount Airy Visitors Center during normal business hours,” the DBA official said, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The get-well card now on display, and presumably others if that one becomes filled, will soon be delivered to Fargo.
“They’re going to be sent to her right after New Year’s,” Lowry said.
Some supporters already have reached out to Fargo, Silver acknowledged in the update of his wife’s condition: “She appreciates your sweet words, prayers and positive thoughts and well wishes.”
Though she now resides in Nashville, Fargo has maintained close ties to her native community over the years, including most recently serving as grand marshal of the Mount Airy Christmas Parade in 2016. Afterward, fans lined up at the museum to meet Fargo and get her autograph.
“My life in Mount Airy influenced me greatly,” Fargo said during that November 2016 appearance in commenting on her hometown. “The people of Mount Airy are wonderful people. They encourage you just because they love you.”
Along with her musical talents, Lowry agreed Tuesday, Fargo is appreciated just as much if not more for being a genuinely nice person.
“All the folks downtown are really hoping for her to make a full recovery, and all her fans are as well.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter