Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/20/12
Nathan Garcia, a USC fan befriended by QB Cody Kessler and his USC teammates, died on Tuesday. He was 13 years old. One of Garcias last wishes was to start a toy drive. He wanted to bring joy to kids who were facing a similar situation as the one he was in. The toy drive was a success. Nearly 4,000 toys were collected in Bakersfield as a result of Garcias wishes. Garcia wanted to be able to pass out the toys to other kids who were suffering like him, but KGET-TV reported he was unable to because of his failing health. The toys collected are a part of the legacy he leaves behind and the impact he was able to have. His biggest impact may have been on USC's third string quarterback Kessler. Kessler is also from Bakersfield and he befriended Garcia last month after Garcias parents reached out to him. He was Garcias favorite player. Garcia was in attendance at the Coliseum for the Trojans' regular season finale against Notre Dame as a guest of the Trojans. He met head coach Lane Kiffin as well as the players of the football team. He became a friend of the Trojans. He received a phone call from head coach Lane Kiffin and texts from some of the players, however, none of them had the bond he and Kessler shared. Garcia and Kessler were friends. Over the last month, when his schedule allowed, Kessler has made trips back home to Bakersfield to spend with his friend. On Monday, when Garcia turned 13, Kessler was there. On Wednesday, a saddened Kessler issued a tweet: RIP Nathan Garcia. Thank you for changing my life forever. Miss you already, glad I got to say goodbye. Love you bud. Kessler didnt speak to the media about his friend on Wednesday. He told Garcias family that he would wait a few days before doing so. Over the next few days, the toys from the toy drive will be gathered and sent out to kids in the hospital in Garcias honor, just as he wished.
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