Long-time educator retires after ALS diagnosis

Many members and organizations in the St. Charles Parish community are supporting Gore through fundraisers and raffles.

Malissa Gore’s ALS fight began in February with her diagnosis. Since then, the R.K. Smith Middle School family, as well as her friends and community, have rallied around the educator as she navigates her new journey.

Gore worked at R.K. Smith for 16 years as a teacher and coach of nearly every sport. On April 26 she retired from the school system.

“Instead of focusing on all the bad stuff I want to share a positive side effect of this horrible disease,” Gore said in a Facebook post announcing her departure from the school system. “As part of the diagnosis I also have PBA, which means I laugh and cry way easier than I did before. It also means I should be warned if I’m eating if you’re going to say something funny. I like to think that it’s allowing me to feel all of the love and memories with the most incredible faculty – even more than should be possible. I can’t thank these incredible people enough for all that they have done for me and taught me over the last 16 years.”

Gore thanked her school family for wonderful memories.

“This disease may take away my ability to eat, move and breathe, but it can’t take away what I’ve gained from my time with all of you,” she wrote.

Tracy Bishop Naquin met Gore nine years ago when she began teaching at R.K. Smith, and the two became fast friends. She said Gore’s last day at was unexpectedly fast-tracked because of disability paperwork, and on Gore’s last day there was a gathering of the school’s employees.

“It was a very difficult but heartwarming and touching moment,” she said. “We have faculty and staff who have taught with her for many years, and we have faulty now who were at one point her students. It was just really a touching moment for all of us to be able to show her our love and appreciation for her time and service and just for person who she is … there is so much life left inside of her.”

Naquin has been instrumental in fundraising for Gore since the diagnosis, as have many other community and family members.

A GoFundMe account titled “ALS Fundraiser for Malissa Gore” has been set up by Gore’s daughter Missy, and T-shirts benefitting Gore can be purchased by visiting https://stitchnola.com/products/her-fight-is-my-fight-for-malissa-gore

Gore was one of the beneficiaries of the recent Dat Dads’ Club of Luling’s recent gold tournament, and on June 4 a “Gores Got Grit” day of shopping with local vendors and crafters is planned to help raise money for Gore. The shopping event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church of Luling.

Ava Rockefeller, a Destrehan High School sophomore, has organized a gift basket raffle to benefit Gore. Rockefeller’s mother Chrissy works as nurse in the school district. The basket contains over $600 in gift cards to restaurants, salons, coffee shops, gas, groceries, boutiques and other local places. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20, and the drawing will be held May 13. To purchase tickets, Venmo @Chrissy-Rockefeller or CashApp: $ryanchrissy.

Woodworking and instrumentation students at the Satellite Center have also got in on the fundraising action, as they built an ice chest to raffle off in support of Gore.

Center Administrator Monitor Brian Gough said the students had the idea to do the project.

“It makes me incredibly hopeful,” Gough said. “It makes you proud that they would take on a task like this and help a fellow human they way they have. They took it upon themselves to do something that’s going to make a difference.”

Twenty students worked on the project, including juniors Braxden Tregre and Keith Comardelle.

“We had the idea when we heard about it and we felt like we should do something,” Comardelle said, adding that so far the raffle has raised $700.

Tickets are $10 and sales end May 16. To purchase a ticket, contact the Satellite Center at 985-785-2080.

Tregre said that while Gore never taught him, he has heard about her from people that he knows.

“I heard from a lot of people who I know who said she had such big impact on their lives,” he said. “In order to give back to her we decided to do this.”


About Monique Roth 653 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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