When All-Scholastic quarterback Reggie Wilkerson was having one of the greatest seasons in Chelsea High School history in 1989, his mother was always in the stands cheering, “Get ‘em, Get ‘em. That’s my son.”
When Trina Wilkerson was cheerleading, performing in a dance recital, or receiving her diploma at the CHS Class of 1991 graduation, her mother was always encouraging her with, “Go Trina.”
Irena Ann Wilkerson was there for every step of her children’s journey through youth sports and the Chelsea school system. There were so many good times that Irena Ann Wilkerson shared with her children, who made her proud of all their achievements.
“Our mom was our rock, our No. 1 fan who always made time for her children because we were her everything,” said Trina Wilkerson.
And now Trina and Reggie will pay tribute to their mother at a benefit fundraiser hosted by the Wilkerson and Robinson families. The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 28, from 7 to 11 .m., at the Merritt Club on Webster Avenue. The proceeds will go the MGH Cancer Center for Appendix Cancer Resources.
Mrs. Wilkerson passed away on June 2, 2014 at the age of 59. She fought gallantly against the disease.
“We thought what an honor and blessing it would be to hold an event to let the whole city know how awesome our mom was and to encourage the ones who are fighting everyday for their lives, families who are crying everyday for strength, resources and support – what a reward to live our mom’s legacy and celebrate her life and bring awareness toward this non-discriminatory disease,” said Trina.
The Wilkerson children said their mother put up a valiant battle against cancer. It’s still difficult for them to talk about how this disease took a strong, vibrant, and energetic woman from them.
“Talking about our mom’s fight is tough because we are ‘broken’ over our tremendous loss,” said Trina. “Our mother was very humble and strong. She fought. She boxed but she never gave up because of her faith, believing in the Lord and having her mother, children, grandchildren, siblings, daughter-in-law, aunt, nieces, nephews, brothers-and-sisters-in-law, and cousins right by her side from beginning to end, which made her transition from this lifetime easier.”
Mrs. Wilkerson was a very spiritual and religious woman who enjoyed spending time with her family.
“She loved going to church with her mother and spending time with her mother and aunt,” said Trina. “She also enjoyed reading and watching her favorite football team, the Patriots, loyal to the team win or lose. She loved Foxwoods but what she loved the most was family time, especially around the holidays.”
Trina and Reggie were asked what made their mother the special person she was.
“It was her heart, her love,” they responded. “You could always count on her. She loved big! She was a phenomenal mother, daughter, sister, niece, and much more. She meant a lot to many people. Her grandchildren loved their “Mama ReRe.”
Trina and Reggie can only imagine how proud their mother would be of their efforts in holding this fundraiser to continue the fight against cancer.
“She would be filled with joy, smiling from ear to ear with her beautiful smile. We know she’s looking down from heaven saying, ‘Those are my children. Go Peanut (a nickname Mrs. Wilkerson gave Trina at a very young age).”
Mrs. Wilkerson lived 54 of her years in Chelsea and she loved this city.
“Our mom was very proud to be from Chelsea,” said Trina. “She came here from Albany, Georgia at the age of five with her parents. She grew up with her siblings. She got married, had two great kids in this city. She was very proud to witness the up and coming All America City.”
To this day, Trina and Reggie carry forth the qualities that their mother passed on to them.
“Have high self-esteem, family first, keep the faith, take care of each other,” said Trina. “Our mother taught us that whatever you want to accomplish in life, you can. Do not allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Respect values. Be good to others. Carry yourself with the utmost respect always.”
Many current and former Chelsea residents and friends of the Wilkerson family are expected to attend the fundraiser at the Merritt Club, where Mrs. Wilkerson’s brother is a member.
There will be musical entertainment by Gil’s DJ Services, with Josette Williams serving as master of ceremonies. Raffles prizes will include Edible Arrangements gift baskets, membership at former heavyweight champion John Ruiz’s gym in Medford, a gift certificate to Texas Roadhouse, a wine basket, a lottery tree, his and hers beauty baskets, a gift certificate to the New Brown Jug, and many more.
James Robinson, a great basketball player in his own right, Autumn Lopez, Chelsea High’s highest scoring player of all time, and Jaelyn Lopez will speak to the assembled guests on behalf of the family.
Trina and Reggie Wilkerson will express their “appreciate, gratitude, and love of our mother” in other ways during the celebration.
“We’ll greet the guests, mix and mingle, have poems and music, and tell stories of how much fun we had with our mom,” said Trina.