The impact of inspiration in our lives is sometimes difficult to put into words. When we are inspired, it lights a fire within us that drives us closer to our dreams, it can be developed from anything that reignites our hope and faith in humanity, and it encourages us to unite for the greater good.
In 2013, the entire city of San Francisco came together in an inspirational tale of magnificent proportion. And from their efforts, a little boy’s life would change forever…
Full Of Life
Miles was just like any other vibrant toddler, full of life and curiosities about the world around him. Spending his days on his family’s farm in Tulelake, California, Miles loved exploring the animals and rural environment around him. But, there was one thing he loved more than his adventures on the farm, and it was his love for the superhero, Batman.
Miles and his dad shared a nightly routine of sitting in the couch and watching an episode of Adam West’s Batman series. Between Batman themed pajamas, slippers, bedding, and much more, the caped superhero had officially taken over their home. And when everything in life was going wonderfully, shy of Miles’ second birthday, his parents noticed a drastic change in their little boy.
The Shocking News
In the blink of an eye, the lives of Miles and his family had gone from completely happy and normal to complete devastation. One doctor’s appointment had changed the entire course of their lives. Miles went from being a healthy, active boy to feeling lethargic and unwell.
After running tests and blood-work, doctors had made a heart wrenching discovery. Miles had leukemia, the most common type of cancer in children and teens. The unexpected diagnosis of their little boy was utterly devastating.
After months of chemotherapy and radiation, little Miles had become increasingly weak and agonized. At such a young age, it had become difficult trying to explain to little Miles why he had to suffer. And when Miles’ pain and tears would heighten, his parents, Nick and Natalie, knew what to do to cheer him up.
Watching Batman would light up his face, and bring out a smile every time. After years of battling the crippling disease, Miles had just turned five, and although he had grown, his love for Batman remained. Close to the end of his treatment and in remission, Nick and Natalie asked their little boy what he had wished for, and without any hesitation, he wanted to be his hero, Batman.
Five Year Mark
Reaching the five year mark in remission is a significant milestone for patients given it can mean a positive future prognosis. His wish also marked the end of extremely painful and invasive treatments. His mom, Natalie, said at the time, “This wish has meant closure for our family and an end to over three years of putting toxic drugs in our son’s body.”
Make A Wish Foundation
So, Nick and Natalie reached out to the Make A Wish Foundation and asked if they could come up with a plan together to make Miles into a real life superhero, Batman of course. To their excitement, Make A Wish not only responded with a yes, but their magnificent idea would make history.
Patricia Wilson, head of the foundation in the Bay Area, wanted him to spend a day saving San Francisco. Patricia began putting the call out to volunteers to help turn San Francisco into Gotham City for a day for Miles. What happened next was both amazing and wonderfully surprising.
Outpour Of Help
The foundation was flooded with offers of help, so many that Patricia found herself having to turn volunteers away. They originally thought they would have no more than 200 people come forward, but boy were they wrong. A local man offered his Lamborghini to become the famous Batmobile. Another local woman offered to be the “damsel in distress.”
The police gladly cooperated, so did countless local merchants, and so did the local paper. Word of the foundation’s efforts spread quickly on social media, and soon what began as a small effort to make a 5-year-old boy a hero for the day turned into a citywide extravaganza, with support and volunteers coming in from all over.
With the help of the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments, the San Francisco Giants and countless others, San Francisco turned into Gotham City to help provide one brave boy the chance to forget his illness for a day. The San Francisco Chronicle produced a special edition of the newspaper the day of his wish, and even astronauts on the International Space Station were watching and sending messages of encouragement.
Social Media Frenzy
More than 25,000 people crowded the city’s streets to take part in Miles’ Make A Wish dream to be his favorite superhero for a day. An estimated two billion people followed his heroics on social media, including President Obama. The little caped-crusader’s wish resonated with so many people that the hashtags #SfBatKid and #BatKid went viral.
Might Be Overwhelmed
As events took on a life of their own, Miles’ parents feared he’d be too shy and wouldn’t know what to do about all the craziness swirling around him. Enter Eric Johnston, who assumed the identity of Batman, and spent time with Miles to put him at ease. The Batman to Miles’ Batkid was a world famous video game programmer who helped create some of the games you know and, in some cases, deeply love and fondly remember.
A Real Life Superhero
Miles had turned into a real life superhero, as Batkid. San Francisco was beset by a wave of crime on Friday, as a woman was taken hostage and tied to cable car tracks, a criminal calling himself the Riddler attempted to rob a bank vault, and a miscreant known as Penguin generally made a nuisance of himself in the downtown area.
Miles’s day began with a fraught message from police chief Greg Suhr, alerting “Batkid” to the various criminal activities and pleading with him to help the city fight off the criminals. Miles was about to lose to the criminals, but Batman came to his rescue in the infamous Batmobile.
Keys To The City
As thousand watched from the sidelines, Batkid and Batman zipped from location to location, saving a damsel in distress, stopping the Riddler and capturing the Penguin at AT&T Park. At the end of the day, Batkid was able to save his beloved city from the villains and received the keys to the city from grateful San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
Now the legendary pint-sized superhero is hitting the big screen in Batkid Begins. This time, Batkid’s fans are getting the whole story. “That event rocked my world,” says Batkid Begins director Dana Nachman. “People saw bits and pieces of this day and fell in love with Miles and the people who made it happen. My goal is to take you behind-the-scenes and see how and why it happened.”
It doesn’t end there. Julia Roberts plans to produce and star in a movie based on Batkid Begins, keeping the feel-good memory alive. Millions of others around the world have also been inspired by the heart felt story of Miles. Miles’ life has become an inspiration for thousands across the globe to play a more active role in helping children in similar situations.
Where is Miles Now?
Many people ask if Miles is still cancer free and the answer is a resounding yes! Since his crime fighting day five years ago, Miles has returned to being a typical kid, playing little league, going to school, helping his family farm, and even selling his first market goat in the local fair. Now, 10 years old and in fifth grade, Miles loves science and robotics.