Gary Don Moore leans heavily on his faith these days, and hundreds of people showed him Saturday night that he can lean on them, too.
Moore, the son of legendary former high school football coach G.A. Moore of Pilot Point, was recently diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure or known cause.
A fundraiser at Celina High School raised $170,000 to help pay for medical expenses for Moore. Between 1,500 and 1,600 people attended the event, and more than 1,100 were served a barbecue dinner, event organizer Patti Dellenbaugh said.
“I believe that God has a perfect plan for each of us; we all have a different challenge,” Moore told to the crowd, with wife Valerie standing by his side, adding that the family is thankful for the support, love, prayer and financial help.
He and Valerie have three children. He asked that people not feel sorry for him and said he appreciates the people who have come to see him and attend the event.
The fundraiser provided monetary support for Radicava treatments, which have been shown to slow down the decline of physical ability in ALS patients by a third, according to ALS News Today. The treatments are expensive – costing $150,000 a year – and the family wants to raise $300,000 to pay for the treatments for two years.
The FDA approved Radicava last year. G.A. Moore then spoke to the crowd about the community’s support and said the family has come to terms with Gary Don’s illness and knows that “God is in charge.” “We’re going to fight it, and we’re going to California and we’re going to try some stuff that’s never been tried, and we’re going to do everything that we can do,” G.A. Moore said. “The only thing we can ask you as a family is to just pray for us. I know that a ton of you have been praying for us, but we need your prayers. Pray for us every day.”
Earlier, in a private interview with The Post-Signal, Gary Don Moore said he was thankful and overwhelmed with the love and support. Moore, a teacher and former football coach at Plano East High School, now teaches three days a week. He does not coach anymore. Moore, who attended school as a boy through the third grade in Pilot Point and then played high school football for Celina, said he has heard from many people since his ALS diagnosis.
“I’ve talked to any- and everybody that I’ve even known, basically – people I’ve haven’t talked to [in] 20 years,” he said. “They drove hours to sit with me and visit and show their support.” Moore went to San Clemente, California, Sunday for a stem cell treatment Monday as part of his therapy. He will receive treatment for two weeks. “The doctor said I would be feeling a lot better by the end of two weeks,” he said.
“It’s one of those deals that you got to play it by ear and see how it goes. Hopefully, it will be like a once-a-year deal. … Hopefully, the stem cells will stop it and put it into remission, and hopefully, the regular meds and supplements and the diet will all keep it there.” As far as the fundraiser, 800 presale tickets were sold. “It’s overwhelming, definitely,” said Car
ol Lynn, Moore’s sister, about the crowd. “It’s feels good to know that a community comes together when you need them to.
A lot of people were still bringing donation items even after the [event] started.” Before Saturday, 270 items were donated for the live and silent auction, but more came in after that, with the final total being 350. Donated items for the live and silent auctions include many football-related items, such as signed jerseys. Other items in the live auction ran the gamut
from grills to firearms to furniture to tickets for sporting events.
The event included a barbecue dinner, with food donated by individuals, Lynn said. Dellenbaugh said people can still make monetary donations to Gary Don Moore at the Mustang Baptist Church’s website, www.mustangbaptist.org. G.A. Moore is the pastor of the church.
“I think it’s fantastic – I love community turnout,” Buddy Wighaman of Pilot Point said about the event. “Beautiful.” Wighaman said Gary Don comes from a good family and is a good kid who is always there for others, and just as he spoke, G.A. Moore approached and the two men shook hands. John Teltschik of Tioga stood in the silent auction line and looked over items. Teltschik now operates a tree farm in Tioga, but he is also a former Texas Longhorn punter who played for the Philadelphia Eagles. “I’ve lived here six-seven years and follow sports and knew who G.A. was,” said Teltschik, explaining why he came to the fundraiser. “You want to do whatever you can to help. We donated trees and a couple of footballs.”