MODESTO — From the beginning, Andre Carter believed his son was destined for big things.
"I told my sons when they were little that they were going to be stars," said Carter, 41, of Fremont. "And there are all kinds of stars ... Kaylan was a star to all the people he came in contact with."
Kaylan Carter, an Enochs High football player, died Friday night at the Kaiser Permanente medical center in Santa Clara. He was 17.
Kaylan collapsed June 24 during a summer weightlifting session at the school. He was given CPR by a member of the coaching staff until emergency personnel arrived. He was taken to Memorial Medical Center, and a week later was transferred to Santa Clara, where he spent the last six weeks.
Doctors discovered he suffered from cardiomyopathy — an enlarged heart — and that led to his cardiac arrest while training. As a result, his brain was denied oxygen for about 30 minutes, according to his father.
On Aug. 11, a Sunday, the family was faced with a life-changing decision.
"We had told the doctors we didn't want to watch Kaylan deteriorate," said Carter. "We didn't want him to go through any pain or suffering.
"They let us know that we were past that point."
The following day, they decided to take him off all life-support systems. Doctors gave family and friends a few days to come and say their goodbyes, and on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. he was taken off life support. He died less than three hours later.
His classmates and others he met through sports remembered a young man with a consistently upbeat outlook, and outstanding talent.
Modesto High quarterback Tiki Tonga developed a bond with his crosstown rival during offseason workouts. Kaylan, who was to enter his senior year, played running back and cornerback for the Eagles.
"He was always positive and always joking around. I liked that," said Tonga, a senior who also competed in track against Kaylan. "He was one of the best athletes in the city.
"I thought he was going to make it, when I first visited him up in Santa Clara."
Enochs High Coach James Stacy, along with his players, did not want to comment on Kaylan's death.
Classmates and teammates had a car wash Tuesday at Enochs to raise funds for any expenses incurred by the family. Erika Howey, mother of Eagles football player Drew Howey, and Brooke Gamlen, a mother two Enochs students, who works with Kaylan's mother, organized the car wash and the sale of cakepops.
Within minutes of opening, 10 minutes before the predetermined time of 6 p.m., there were about a dozen cars waiting in line. Some who couldn't wait donated money to the fund anyway. Tonga and some of his MHS teammates cobbled together $100 for the fund.
“I think this helps the players feel that they’re doing something instead of just going through it,” said Erika Howey, who later reported the car wash raised more than $2,400.
Gamlen has already raised more than $1,000 just by selling $2 cakepops — like a lollipop, only with cake on the end of the stick.
"This response is just overwhelming to see," said Gamlen. "It's overwhelming to see all the love for Kaylan. He was such a good kid, very loving. Just the sweetest kid ever."
Enochs senior Roshelle Kumar agrees.
"He was always happy," said Kumar, who attended Dan Savage Middle School with Kaylan. "If he knew somebody was upset, he would always check on them. He was just a really, really good guy."
Brittni Clack, an Enochs senior who knew Kaylan since middle school, thought the car wash was a fitting tribute to her friend.
"This just shows how many people Kaylan impacted," said Clack, pointing to the roughly 40 volunteers.
Kaylan Danell Carter was born Jan. 7, 1996, in Redwood City. He is the only child born to Karna Glin, of Modesto, and Andre Carter, who is the father of three other children — Quinisha Carter, 22; DeAndre Carter, 20; and Cameron Carter, 5.
"They're doing OK," Carter said of his other children. "The 5-year-old misses his brother, but he doesn't understand."
Services are planned for Saturday at 11 a.m. at The House, 1601 Coffee Road, Modesto.
Joe Cortez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2380. Follow him on Twitter, @modbeepreps.