The people of San Francisco have activated the Batkid Signal!
In case you slept through the most heartwarming story of the season, the Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation recently transformed the city into Gotham, so that a 5-year-old leukemia patient named Miles Scott could play hero for a day. Batkid rescued a damsel in distress, freed the Giants’ mascot from the clutches of the Penguin and rallied an estimated 20,000 citizens who cheered him on at City Hall.
On Saturday, Miles will reprise his role as Batkid to help raise money for other youngsters who need some wish-granting. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is hosting their seventh annual Brave the Bay fundraiser, an adorably San Francisco event where people dressed like Santa compete in cable-car pulls and the Chief of Police takes a plunge in frigid harbor waters. (Members of the public are invited to sign up or just empty their wallets.) Batkid will lead a 5K and may demonstrate how to pull a cable car, something that heroes can do in their sleep, obviously.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation had hoped for a few hundred people to respond when they asked members of the public to participate in Miles’ wish on Nov. 15. That’s the amount that had come out for other crowd-requiring events in San Francisco, like when a 5-year-old girl wanted to be famous for a day and Make-A-Wish put on a faux press conference. But the call for help went viral and Make-A-Wish was fielding offers from thousands of volunteers within a few days.
“People were excited about this wish because it had so many parts of San Francisco in it,” says Make-A-Wish spokeswoman Jen Wilson, “and because of what it represented for this boy. He’s five and almost his whole life he’s been dealing with leukemia. It really resonated with people, his living out a childhood dream.” Wanting to be Batman is also clearly a wish that resonated with people, who flooded the city streets dressed in masks and capes and Batman yellow.
The massive crowds meant more costs, with the city shelling out an estimated $105,000 from a fund set aside for special events. The bulk of that paid for a rally held outside “Gotham” City Hall, where Batkid was honored by everyone from the mayor to the FBI for saving the metro from certain doom. The typical wish, Wilson says, sets back the organization around $7,500.
But given the response people around the world had to Batkid, who got a congratulatory message from President Obama himself, that may seem like a bargain. “We were just so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support,” Wilson says. “The one phrase we heard so many times from people is that it ‘restored their faith in humanity.’”