It's been just 24 hours since we first shared the story of Nathan Garcia. The 12-year-old has brain cancer and doctors say he's slipping away. His 13th birthday is a little over a week away. His one wish is to collect toys to give to other sick kids in the hospital.
On Friday, Nathan got to see what has been donated because of him.
"Wow, look at that Nathan," said Nathan's mom, Jessica, wheeling her son outside to look at the toys. And, Nathan, also said, "Wow."
Nathan's parents shared their son's 13th birthday wish to collect toys and give them to other sick kids in the hospital. What was a wish then, is shaping into a reality. Toy donations stacked up just an hour after opening at Jersey Mike's Sub Shops. The restaurant's co-owner, Carrie Asbury, was happy to make her shops a collection site.
"I have had lots of friends that have called because they have seen the segment from last night and want to drop off more toys and what can they do to help. And, my employees, now they are saying they want to bring in toys. They want to help him," said Asbury.
Nathan's dad came by the restaurant to drop off a collection bin, overwhelmed by the early outpouring.
"My phone has been going off non-stop. Not only my cell phone, but the home phone as well. I mean people have reached out to us and we have been truly blessed," said Michael Garcia.
The blessings continue at Terrio Physical Therapy and Fitness. They've already filled a room for Nathan's wish to collect thousands of toys.
"Ever since then people are calling, e-mails, texts, what can we do, people are donating money," said Tim Terrio, CEO of the company. "We are getting calls from all over the state right now about 'hey, we can't make it, but can we ship stuff?' Well, he said he wanted thousands of toys, and Nathan, we have some of it coming for you."
The Terrio team wanted to let Nathan see what he's done. So, they carried out all of the toys and stuffed the gifts collected so far in not one, but three SUVs. They drove to Nathan's house and unloaded them in the garage. Then, Nathan's parents wheeled him out to show him what he and his wish have done. In just 24 hours, half of his garage is filled with toys. Days that are already so precious, have become even more special.
"It's just, it's been so unreal that the community of Bakersfield has truly reached out to Nathan and our family as well," said Michael Garcia.
You can donate at any Jersey Mike's Sub Shop in town or at Terrio Physical Fitness and Therapy locations here or in Fresno. And, a Wells Fargo account has been set up in Nathan Garcia's name.
Nathan's story has gone national, with people as far away as Portland, Maryland and Miami, Florida seeing it. And, the coach and players of Nathan's favorite college football team, USC, continue to call him and offer their support.