Foundation created in memory of cancer victim BY BOB EIGHMY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2004
It’s said the light that burns the brightest also burns the shortest.
Such was the all-too-brief life of Mykka Estorninos of Fayetteville.
Mykka died Jan. 25, 2003, at the age of 16 from osteosarcoma, a relatively rare form of bone cancer. She was first diagnosed with the condition on Nov. 1, 2001.
June Mykka M. Estorninos had been the class president of the Medical Academy Sophomore Class at Fayetteville High School.
Her talent as a cultural dancer helped to earn Estorninos the "Miss Teen Philippines — Visayas" title presented by the Northwest Arkansas Filipino American Association in 2000. She was born in San Pablo City, the Philippines.
She was also an honor student at Bates Elementary School and Ramay Junior High School, and a member of the National Honor Society at Fayetteville High School.
In the months leading up to her death, students throughout the Fayetteville school district raised money for the Estorninos family to help offset Mykka’s medical expenses. Teachers, classmates and friends did all they could to help Mykka and her parents, Leopoldo "June" E. Estorninos Jr. and Connie Morelos Estorninos, while she was undergoing pre and post-surgery chemotherapy treatments.
People in the community who had worked to assist the Estorninos family decided their efforts should not stop with Mykka’s passing.
To that end, the Mykka Estorninos Foundation is being launched Saturday, July 10, at the St. Joseph Catholic Church Corry Hall, 1722 Starr Drive, Fayetteville.
From 6:30-9 p.m. Saturday, a fund-raising dinner and cultural presentation by volunteers will be held at the church.
The nonprofit, public-benefit Mykka Estorninos Foundation is dedicated to providing assistance to children and young adults with cancer and their immediate family members in Arkansas. The group will also aid young people living in the Philippines who are affected by cancer. "We’ve already helped a recipient last week in the Philippines," said Rustico Bautista, president of the foundation’s board of directors. "She is a 6-year-old girl with leukemia."
Bautista stated Philippine cultural presentations at Saturday night’s event will feature traditional Filipino songs and dance routines.
Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody is scheduled to welcome guests and Dr. Mark Bonner is slated to be the guest speaker.
June Estorninos is executive director of the foundation that bears his late daughter’s name. "We are so thankful for the people and friends who are helping us start the foundation," Estorninos said. "We didn’t know there were so many who wanted to help us. We feel very blessed because of these people and want to move forward with the work we started for my daughter."
Estorninos hopes the establishment of the foundation will mobilize help to people who may be enduring a situation similar to what he and his family experienced. "We want to be able to help cancer-stricken young adults and their immediate families in whatever way we can," said Estorninos.
A press release announcing Saturday’s event described Mykka and the motivation for creating the foundation. "People who knew Mykka were in awe of her emotional maturity and the rare breed of courage she exhibited until the very end. (She) inspired a lot of people — young and old from all walks of life — not only in Northwest Arkansas but in other places as well.
" We enjoin the public to help make Mykka’s inspiring legacy live by supporting the foundation. Please come and bring a friend. "
For more information about the Mykka Estorninos Foundation, call 479-521-3672 or 479-587-8291. The group’s web site is http: // cox-internet. com/estorninos/MEF/ind ex. html.
The foundation’s mailing address is MEF Inc., 1298 Deerfield Way, Fayetteville AR 72701.