5-year-old Batkid to save San Francisco in day-long Make-A-Wish dream

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14 2013 9:20 a.m. MST

In Gotham City, some say, “I believe in Harvey Dent,” or “I believe in Jim Gordon,” but this Friday, the people of San Francisco will be saying, “I believe in Batkid.”

On Friday, the Make-A-Wish foundation will grant a wish to 5-year-old cancer survivor Miles of Tulelake, Calif. Miles, whose last name is not being released for privacy reasons, asked not just to meet Batman, his favorite superhero, but he wanted to be Batkid for a day.

“Our young crime fighter has no idea what is in store for him when he gets his wish on Nov. 15 in San Francisco,” it reads in the Batkid press release. “Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area will be turning the entire city into Gotham City for Miles, aka Batkid. Dozens of people have been working to make his wish come true, and thousands of San Franciscans and well-wishers from near and far will be joining Miles as he celebrates the end of his treatment.”

Miles’ Batkid day will include answering the call of the chief of police to help, riding in the Batmobile, saving a damsel in distress, “apprehending” the Riddler from robbing a bank vault and responding to a flashmob in Union Square asking for Batkid to help rescue Lou Seal from the Penguin. He will end the day at City Hall by accepting the key to the city from the mayor.

This is not the first superhero wish Make-A-Wish has granted, but due to its viral rounds on social media, Miles’ Batkid wish is the first to reach such a large scale.

“A lot of people are commenting about that to say how excited they are to see social media being used for positive change,” said Patricia Wilson, executive director at Make-A-Wish foundation in an interview with the Deseret News. “There’s a group in New Jersey that’s created the Batkid Photo Project (on Facebook). And I can’t even look at it anymore. I was crying this morning. There’s a picture of a soldier who’s serving right now, holding ‘we love you Batkid,’ and there’s guys from India holding up photos, and all around the world, and I can’t even look anymore.”

Thousands of people have volunteered to help transform San Francisco into Gotham City through service and contributions for Batkid, including having a gobo projector display the batman symbol on a building in Union Square and a plane flying with a banner reading “Dreams come true.”

“Who doesn’t remember as a kid wanting to be a superhero sort, and then fantasizing about that? And then when you combine that with a child who’s battling leukemia, who’s doing very well by the way, and a city that’s ready to embrace this in a huge way and willing to turn itself into Gotham, which, honestly, would only happen in San Francisco, (is incredible)” Wilson said. “You know, we’re a little quirky, but we’re also passionate and full of love, and compassionate, and obviously there have been a lot of superhero wishes, but never has there been this, and I think it’s just a tribute to San Francisco.”

Many are amazed by the support and enthusiasm surrounding Miles' superhero wish.

“We’re just all blown away. And they’re just amazed that so many people are in love with Miles and his story, and for him as a superhero, and rooting for him, and celebrating a child beating cancer,” Wilson said. “And I told her (Miles’ mother), ‘you know, when I said I was going to turn San Francisco into Gotham City, I had no idea that anything on this scale was even humanly possible.’ We planned a wish, right, but what we’ve got is an entire city and world participating, and it’s incredible to think.”

The Make-A-Wish foundation aids children with life-threatening medical conditions, and receives many of its referrals from medical communities. For those wanting to following Batkid’s adventures, the event will be live tweeted with the hashtag #SFBATKID.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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