Estrella loses battle with cancer
‘She was brave until the end’
GRANTS - I am writing this song of sorrow for a young reporter, who interviewed Estrella Holguin not even a month ago, for a story that was published in the June 8 edition of the Cibola County Beacon.
It was a story of joy, hope, sadness and depression where a young girl had grown weary. She was still fighting for her life, but to save it had cost her a great deal. Weeks later, she would know all her struggles were in vain.
But, this was one of Victoria Carreon's first assignments as a college intern for the Beacon. She was beginning her life as a reporter. In spite of Carreon's young age - she is 19-years-old - she bravely interviewed Estrella and her mother Maria Macias Holguin, Dr. Eames, and Beth Wool, a teacher at Mesa View Elementary School. It was hard for her to see how tired Estrella was and how sick. It was depressing to Victoria, who wanted Estrella to be able to play, and have a normal life as a child.
I remember how Victoria came to me.
The little girl's life was hanging by a thread, and it impacted Victoria as it should. For you see, a reporter - even a young one - must embrace their story and carry it within them. Whether it is a story of life, or of death.
So, in a way, my story is about Estrella and Victoria - what one of them lost, and what one of them gained.
Victoria will always remember Estrella as the little girl, who wanted to paint, to draw, to look at art done by famous artists, watch movies and solve math problems. She will remember how it felt to interview Estrella and how she tried to stay true to the story that Estrella told.
Everyone thought Estrella had conquered the acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which attacked her with a vengeance last year.
She had traveled to Ft. Worth, Texas, where she underwent treatment on April 3. Estrella received a stem cell bone marrow transplant, and all were hopeful. Until June 21, she was doing well with the treatment. She was still ahead of everybody in school, in spite of being sick.
Unfortunately, according to her parents, everyone knew she was going to die by June 24 when her tests came back. The leukemia had spread throughout her body.
It was an echo of when Estrella found out she had leukemia.
Richard Holguin Sr. and Maria Macias Holguin said that it was at 9 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2006 when they found out why Estrella had grown tired around Thanksgiving Day in 2005. She had leukemia.
And, now her mother and father knew that all the treatment had not served Estrella well. Richard and Maria said that at that point there was nothing more to do. It was time to come home, so that Estrella could say goodbye, and live out the rest of her life with her family in Grants.
“She wanted to see her cousin, Jasmine Holguin,” Maria says. “They were like sisters.”
The two girls were born within days of each other. Jasmine on April 22, and Estrella on April 15. They were both 8-years-old.
She barely made it home to see Estrella.
The family were back in Grants by Sunday, June 24.
Estrella died three days later in Jasmine's bed, where she had been staying with her cousin and family.
It was a peaceful.
Maria said that she knew it was almost her time, and that she was not afraid.
Estrella drifted off that Wednesday evening with her mother, father, grandmother and Richard's arms wrapped around her - her older brother - as she breathed her last breath.
“She wanted to see God,” her mother said. “Her last words were 'I'm sorry.”
Her parents remember Estrella: her smile, how brave she was when she had to endure pain and constant treatments.
“She never complained,” Maria and Richard said. “She wanted to be a police officer and be the lady on the block with all the cats.”
Estrella had a last wish.
She asked Make-A-Wish Foundation in Albuquerque for a cat and they brought her one.
They came an hour after Estrella died, but everyone knows that cats and heaven go together and that Estrella is “the lady on the block with all the cats.”
By Lia Martin