San Francisco Transforms Into Gotham City For Boy’s Batman Wish
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A young leukemia patient realized his dream to become Batman for a day as an army of volunteers transformed part of San Francisco into ‘Gotham City’ Friday.
5-year-old Miles Scott from Siskiyou County traversed the city Friday, maneuvering through huge throngs of admirers as a superhero named “Batkid,” fighting crime with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Volunteers, businesses, the San Francisco Giants and even the city’s mayor and police department all pitched in to make the adventure as realistic as possible.
Miles has become an internet sensation as the project which has taken on a life of its own through social media. The 5-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 20 months old and ended chemotherapy treatment in June, with the cancer now in remission, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area executive director Patricia Wilson said.
“He already battled a villain in real life. He fought cancer and won,” Wilson said.
Just after 10 a.m. Friday, Miles emerged from a Union Square garage in the Batmobile, accompanied by a second Batmobile, in front of a throng of onlookers, well-wishers and reporters held back by police barriers.
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The vehicles — two black Lamborghinis with Batman decals – were escorted by police, who also blocked off roads.
“There’s going to be mayhem and it’s going to be wonderful mayhem and love,” Wilson said. “I’ve been at Make-A-Wish for 15 years and never did I think something like this would be possible.”
Miles had some help…in the form of a full-sized Batman – played by inventor and acrobat Eric Johnston – encouraging him along the way as he confronted dastardly foes like the Riddler and the Penguin.
There was a damsel in distress saved on the Hyde Street cable car tracks, and the Riddler was foiled after trying to rob a bank vault on Montgomery Street.
The duo scrambled to Nob Hill to save the damsel, who was facing an oncoming cable car at Green and Hyde streets as the crowd yelled “Go Batkid!”
Miles untied the damsel, who had been tied to a green box filled with question marks by the “The Riddler,” one of Batman’s villains.
People also crowded around the Financial District as the duo entered a bank at 550 Montgomery St. to look for the Riddler.
Inside they found the famed villain, who tried to steal jewelry and money but Miles locked him in a barred room with nowhere to escape.
Then during a quick lunch near Union Square, the next crime involved the evil Penguin kidnapping Giants mascot Lou Seal before our hero’s eyes.
The pair made their way to AT&T Park. After a serious of obstacle courses at the park’s promenade level, Miles slid down the Coca Cola bottle slide to find “The Penguin” at the end.
Lou Seal was found tied up to a batting cage nearby at a small baseball diamond for children and Miles came to the rescue and set the mascot free.
Batman and Batkid then arrived to City Hall, where Miles proudly waved a fist in the air as hundreds of people cheered him on with a hero’s welcome as he stood on stage at Civic Center Plaza.
A plane flew overhead with the message “Wishes do come true SF Batkid.”
Friday’s caped crusades ended with a special honor – a key to the city – from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall. President Barack Obama even acknowledged his efforts in a video posted on Twitter.
Organizers hoped Friday’s day-long celebration of Miles will give him new powers. “Some new skills, to face things that are changing too fast, that you’re not sure how it’s going to go and just charge into it doing backflips,” said Johnston.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which turns dreams into reality for sick children, used social media to describe Miles’ journey throughout the city on Friday. People can follow along using the hashtag #SFBatkid on Twitter.
“This wish has meant closure for our family and an end to over three years of putting toxic drugs in our son’s body,” Miles’ mother Natalie said in a statement. “This wish has become kind of a family reunion and is our celebration of his treatment completion.”
More information on how to donate to the foundation, can be found online at http://sf.wish.org/news-and-events/news/wish-news/batman.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)