The Student Government at Pelham High School held its annual Wilkins Family Benefit on Feb. 20 to aid, front row, Patrick and Kyle Wilkins and their parents, Lisa and Ray Wilkins. Valley Dispatch/Gayle Simone
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PELHAM — The aroma of Italian cuisine danced with the sounds of young singing voices through the air at Pelham High School on Feb. 20.

The student government brought the spaghetti dinner and lip-sync contest together as its annual benefit event for the Wilkins family triplets — Kyle, Patrick and Matthew — who were diagnosed 11 years ago with Becker’s muscular dystrophy. Becker’s muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder that involves chronic muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis.

Matthew died in November 2006 from respiratory complications two weeks after the family returned from a vacation in Disney World.

John Costa, dean of the math department at PHS, leads the fundraising efforts each year.

“The first year we held a Halloween dance,” Costa said. “It was eight or nine years ago we started the spaghetti dinner.”

The boys’ father, Raymond Wilkins, grew up in Pelham and has worked for the Pelham School District for 27 years.

“The community has been great to us,” Wilkins said. “They’ve helped us so much with for anything non-medical relating to the boys’ illness.”

This year’s benefit featured food from Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta & Sauces in Haverhill, with drinks donated by Coca-Cola and various items donated by Market Basket.

Former Pelham Selectman James Hardy has always shown his support to the Wilkins family, but makes sure the community knows who is the driving force behind the fundraising.

“(John Costa) is the catalyst,” Hardy said. “He doesn’t want any of the credit, but he deserves all of the credit.”

The trust set up for the boys has helped put chair lifts in the house, send the family on vacation and pay for any non-medical matters through the years.

Kyle and Patrick are 17-year-old juniors at Chelmsford High School and are thankful for the benefit each year.

“It’s very nice for the people to do this for us,” Patrick said.

The boys look alike yet are very different persons. Patrick is a big hockey fan, while Kyle puts more attention into his interest in antique and classic cars.

“We make a lot of model cars,” said their mother, Lisa. “And we go to hockey games as a family.”

“We’re going to the Bruins game on March 29,” Patrick said.”

After the dinner, everyone moved from the cafeteria to the gymnasium for the lip-sync competition. Seniors Stephanie Burke and Rob LaRose took first place with their lip-syncing abilities to the song “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin.

Donations can be sent to: KPM Trust, PO Box 396, Pelham, NH, 03076; or c/o John Costa, Pelham High School, 85 Marsh Road, Pelham, N.H., 03076. For information contact John Costa at 603-635-2115.

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