Nathan Garcia lost his battle with brain cancer Tuesday night. But before he died, he got to see his 13th birthday wish to collect toys for kids in the hospital come true.
Nathan’s story and wish brought the best out of so many people. He collected more than 4,000 toys for other kids in a matter of days. And his friends are making sure his spirit lives on.
Life lessons sometimes come from the most uncommon teachers. It’s no question Nathan Garcia taught so many, so much about good.
“Sometimes people live a whole life and never make an impact,” said Tim Terrio, CEO of Terrio Physical Therapy and Fitness. “And, I guess if that’s what sums up a life, then Nathan lived a whole life.”
At just 12, Nathan’s small body must have been filled with mostly heart. As he was fighting brain cancer, his 13th birthday wish was to collect thousands of toys to give to other kids in the hospital. Immediately, Tim Terrio and Carrie Asbury, co-owner of Jersey Mike’s Subs, opened their businesses to make it come true.
“For somebody that young and going through all of that and wanting to give back on top of it, that’s just amazing,” said Asbury.
A whirlwind of donations came in within days from not just here, but across the country. Nathan opened the helping hearts of so many. And some just had to meet this inspirational boy.
In his final days, the little strength Nathan had he gave to fist bumping the Bakersfield Condors to a win.
USC’s head coach, Lane Kiffin, and his players all called Nathan.
And, Nathan’s story sparked school toy drives and toy rides. Harley riders delivered their collection to Nathan’s house in time for Nathan’s 13th birthday, December 17th.
It was a wish come true. And even though Nathan’s no longer here, his spirit will live on, in a world that’s a little better because he was in it.
“Nathan touched so many lives. I’m just so happy that his wish was granted and we are able to fulfill it,” said Jessica Mathews, Executive Director of the League of Dreams.
“I mean that just gives you hope in the world that for every villain out there, there’s a Nathan that makes life better. So, God bless him for that,” said Terrio.
Nathan’s parents are making funeral arrangements. Make-a-Wish and Reliable Moving and Storage will begin gathering the toys Thursday so Nathan’s wish will be fulfilled and the toys will be given to hospitalized children.
Tim Terrio says he’s working on making Nathan’s wish an annual event and he also plans to start a foundation in his name that will help kids who can’t afford it, get into sports clubs.