The Walnut City Council Wednesday night honored Michael Miyamoto, a Walnut teen who died Nov. 1 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.
The council named Dec. 12, which would have the teen's 19th birthday, Michael Miyamoto Day. Mayor Mary Su fought back tears as she spoke of what the teen has meant to the community.
"He's not physically with us, but his spirit is always with us," Su said. "This little town of 32,000 people has been touched by his life."
Su said that she plans to plant a tree in honor of the popular Walnut High School graduate.
Miyamoto was beloved among his peers and active in the fight against cancer. He participated in both the Walnut and Diamond Bar Relay for Life events in years past.
He had been battling Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL, since age 7. That type of cancer attacks the blood and bone marrow.
Miyamoto had been in remission following a bone marrow transplant in September 2011, but the cancer returned for the fourth time in September of this year.
Councilwoman Nancy Tragarz said as a mother of two sons at Walnut High, she has seen first hand how Miyamoto's peers have rallied around him in his effort to fight cancer.
Councilman Eric Ching said that Miyamoto inspired him to become a bone marrow and organ donor.
Councilman Antonio "Tony" Cartagena expressed his gratitude to the teen "for being a very productive citizen in our community, for leaving a very important legacy."
Miyamoto's parents, Lindsay and Phoebe Miyamoto, as well as his sister Jaclyn, attended the ceremony. Mayor Pro Tem Tom King read a proclamation from the city in honor of their son. A representative from state Sen. Bob Huff's office also honored the teen, who had once worked as an intern for the lawmaker.
Lindsay Miyamoto thanked the community and the council for the support over the years and asked that a photo of Michael be put up in the Walnut Teen Center.
"It's a reminder of how much Michael loved the city and all of the friends that he has accumulated over the years," he said. "There are some younger children in the school system who won't have the opportunity to meet Michael, but I think it would be good if they could actually see a picture of him."