The Make-A-Wish Foundation is known for dramatic donations on behalf of seriously ill children. But it’s hard to recall a Make-A-Wish gift on the scale of last Friday’s event in San Francisco, when a portion of the city was transformed into “Gotham” for the benefit of a 5-year-old cancer survivor named Miles. The boy, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 20 months and recently went into remission, had wanted to be Batman for a day. And with the help of social media and the general public, the foundation’s Bay Area chapter made it happen.
The donations ranged from two Lamborghinis, for use that day as Batmobiles, to actors who posed as Batman, a damsel in distress, and villains The Riddler and The Penguin. The San Francisco Chronicle printed a special front page. Most heartening, tens of thousands of San Franciscans took part in the event, lining the streets, holding signs, and cheering as Miles, wearing a pint-sized Batman suit, participated in a series of staged rescues. The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s local director told the Chronicle that the event she’d originally planned was smaller in scope — but in a tech-savvy city, the idea quickly went viral. So did the result: a heartening, collective expression of good will, generosity, and civic pride.