Paul Helgeson


(NOTE: The April 14 benefit for Paul Helgeson has been held, but fundraising continues, and the NDAD fund to help Paul remains open for donations.)

Paul Helgeson of Grand Forks, for about 24 years the owner and operator of Odin’s Belmont Service station, was diagnosed in April 2018 with small cell lung cancer and, in addition, with a rare autoimmune disease called paraneoplastic.

Paul was born and raised in Grand Forks and is a 1985 graduate of Red River High School.  Paul completed his associate degree at North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton.
 
Paul Helgeson (left) and family members during Christmas 2017: (starting to Paul's left) son Ted, son Sam, wife Heather, daughter-in-law Ophelie, granddaughter Sophia and son Joshua.
 

Paul and his wife, Heather, have been married 29 years. They married in August 1989. The Helgesons have three sons: Joshua, Dallas, Texas; Ted, Napa, Calif.; and Sam, Grand Forks. Paul's parents are Diane and Herb Helgeson. Heather has family in Fargo, West Fargo and Davenport, N.D.

One of Paul's greatest loves and accomplishments was serving as owner and operator of Odin's Belmont Service, one of only two full-service stations in Grand Forks.  Paul purchased the station from Odin Kvamme in 1994 and successfully ran the business until August 2018 when he needed to close its doors because of his health.

“Paul prided himself on serving the station's loyal customers throughout the years in an honest and respectful manner,” Heather wrote.

Fundraising efforts on Paul’s behalf are underway. NDAD is sponsoring the entire fundraising effort for Paul through its free Community Fundraisers Program.

A benefit for Paul will be held Sunday, April 14, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. in the lower level dining room of St. Mary's Catholic Church, 216 Belmont Road (Third Avenue South entrance).  The event will feature a freewill-donation spaghetti dinner, silent auction and bake sale.

NOTE REGARDING SILENT AUCTION: Helgeson benefit silent auction bidding will close at 5:30 p.m. to provide time to process the bids.


The benefit organizing committee includes members of St. Mary's, United Lutheran Church and St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

If you would like to donate silent auction items, please contact Jim Bollman Jr., (701) 317-6202 or jbollman@wdaz.com.

Download a .PDF of NDAD's Paul Helgeson benefit poster HERE.
 
Paul Helgeson benefit poster

There are several other ways you may donate to help Paul:

Click the “Donate Now” button-like graphic at the top of THIS page and use PayPal or your credit card to make a donation online.  Other than PayPal’s small transaction fee, all of your donation will go to help Paul.

Send a check to NDAD, c/o Paul Helgeson Fundraiser, 2660 S. Columbia Road, Grand Forks, ND 56710. Make your check payable to NDAD and write “Paul Helgeson” on your check’s memo line.  All of your donation will go to help Paul.

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Here’s more information about Paul’s illness from Heather Helgeson:

“Paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system are a group of uncommon disorders that develop in some people who have cancer. Paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system occur when cancer-fighting agents of the immune system also attack parts of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves or muscle. Depending on where the nervous system is affected, paraneoplastic syndromes can cause problems with muscle movement or coordination, sensory perception, memory or thinking skills, or even sleep.

“Sometimes the injury to the nervous system is reversible with therapy directed toward the cancer and the immune system. However, these diseases can also rapidly result in severe damage to the nervous system that can't be reversed. 
Regardless, treatment of underlying cancer and other interventions may prevent further damage, improve symptoms and give you a better quality of life.
 
Paul at work
“Since April, Paul has been receiving treatment through the Cancer Center of North Dakota and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for the cancer as well as the rare condition of paraneoplastic.  Throughout the spring and summer, Paul underwent chemotherapy and radiation which resulted in shrinking the cancer, and he showed significant improvement in regards to his autoimmune disease where he was able to walk with a cane and move independently.
  
“However, in September and October of this last fall, the autoimmune disease started to take over again, causing a slow regression for Paul where he is unable to walk and has limited mobility with his hands, arms, legs and feet.

“Currently Paul is receiving treatment in Grand Forks with consultation from Mayo Clinic for maintenance chemotherapy to prevent the spreading of the cancer as well as treatment for the paraneoplastic disease with the hope of getting Paul's mobility back and a level of independence.”



 

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