An Open Letter From Rich Helger:
 
Good morning.
Some of you reading this may know me, others may not. My name is Rich Helger. I am the owner of Helgers Southcoast Power Equipment in Westport, MA, and have spent my entire life at Seekonk Speedway. Whether it was growing up in the grandstands, sponsoring the track, or helping my son Richie Helger Jr. compete in the Bandolero Bandits last year, the Speedway has always been a major part of my life.
Some of you may know that I have been battling with kidney disease for my entire life. If you didn’t before, you do now. And I’m reaching out looking for a bit of help from one of you, to help me move forward and take many more laps.
Over the last year, my kidney disease has progressively started to take the wrong turn. Currently, I am preparing to be in need of a kidney transplant, sometime soon. My only other option would be dialysis, which would be a last resort for me. I’m reaching out to the Speedway community looking for help navigating this newest incident on the race track that is my life.
Some of you reading this might know, but finding a kidney transplant in a country with over 300 million people isn’t as easy as it might seem. There are hundreds of thousands of people already waiting for a transplant, and I am just one of them. I won’t have the luxury of waiting for someone who is a deceased donor, and instead, I’m looking to receive a kidney from a living donor that is so generous to help.
Asking anyone to help me during any point in my life has always been difficult, even with small tasks. I’m not one to seek assistance from someone outside my inner circle. But I know a lot of you at the track might be potential donors, or might know someone who is willing to help my family and I move forward. Like competitors in the pit area helping each other, I’m hoping someone out there is willing to help keep my car turning left for years to come.
Thank you for reading this far. If you’re interested in helping, there are a few simple steps you could take. Any person who is healthy and motivated to donate can consider a donation. Kidney donors must be between the ages of 18-70. See the steps to success here:
  1. Visit www.livingdonortufts.org and begin completing an online health history questionare.
  2. Once you get to the bottom of the first page, please fill-in the sections that ask if you would like to donate to a specific person — please put Richard Helger, and my date of birth, 02/03/1981.
  3. Once you finish the questionnaire, your information will be reviewed by one of the living donor coordinators at Tufts. If you are a possible candidate, you will be contacted directly. Give it time, as the process may take a few weeks.
  4. If you can’t personally offer a kidney, and you are still interested in helping, please share this information with anyone you think might be interested.
This is a difficult time for my family and I, but I feel confident that reaching out to the Speedway community will be a positive move en route to success. All of you have been a major player in my life — whether you are a car owner, driver, crew member, staff, or fan of the track. The sport we all love has bumps in the road — and that’s what I consider this — a bump in my path to the future. But, like everyone else, I’m ready to push through it and come out the other side better than before. I look forward to joining you all at the track this season to celebrate the return to racing at Seekonk.
Thank you so much for reading my letter. And a special thank you to my family and friends for all of their support during this time. If this is something you would be so grateful to consider, I would be happy to talk with you directly about my story and give you more information on the process. You can also contact my transplant center directly at donateakidney@tuftsmedicalcenter.org with any questions.
I’m hopeful that my story will inspire others to become a donor, either as a living member of the community, or after death. As I mentioned, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who are in need of donations.  I am just one of many.
Thank you for your consideration. Enjoy the rest of your offseason.
Rich Helger