Batkid

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"Batkid" (Miles Scott) receiving the Key to the City of "Gotham" (San Francisco) from Mayor Ed Lee, while "Batman" (Eric Johnston) and Miles' parents and younger brother (dressed as Robin) look on

Batkid is the superhero name of Miles Scott, an American child and cancer survivor who is in remission. His wish was to be "Batkid", a sidekick of the eponymous comic book superhero Batman, the subject of books, radio, television, and films. Once the request went out, thousands of volunteers, city officials, businesses and supporters rallied to turn San Francisco, California into "Gotham City" - the fictional home city of Batman - on November 15, 2013 for one of the largest and most elaborate Make-A-Wish projects ever staged.[1][2]

Batkid took part in staged events including several crime scenarios, and receiving the key to the city from San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.[3] President Obama and other elected officials, and representatives from law enforcement also took part, and the San Francisco Chronicle, the city's main newspaper, produced a "Gotham City Chronicle" in honor of the efforts with the headline "Batkid Saves City: Hooded hero nabs Riddler, rescues damsel in distress."[4]

Background[edit]

Make-A-Wish Foundation[edit]

In the spring of 1980, 7-year-old Christopher James Greicius was being treated for leukemia. He had always wanted to be a police officer. U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin befriended Chris and worked with officers at the Arizona Department of Public Safety to plan an experience to lift Greicius' spirits. Chris spent the day as a police officer, rode in a police helicopter, received a custom-tailored police uniform, and was sworn in as the first honorary DPS patrolman in state history.[5] Greicius died soon after, but his wish became inspiration for the world's largest wish-granting organization.[5] The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.[6] In order to qualify for a wish, the child must be between the ages of 2 and a half and 18 at the time of referral. The organization has 61 chapters in the U.S. and operates in almost 50 countries through 37 affiliate offices.[7] In 2007, the charity marked its 150,000th "dream come true."[5] As of 2013, they have facilitated more than 226,000 experiences, or 'wishes.'[8]

The San Francisco Greater Bay Area chapter opened in 1984 and grants about 300 wishes a year.[9] Of the approximately 6,000 experiences through the local chapter, 80% of the kids with life-threatening conditions "are winning their fights."[10]

Preparations for a Batkid experience had been in the works since March 2013, three months before Miles' last treatment.[11]

Miles Scott[edit]

Miles Scott is a cancer survivor from Tulelake, northern California near the border of Oregon.[12][13] He was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia - a form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells characterized by excess lymphoblasts - at 18 months old.[3][14] In chemotherapy treatment for several years he is now in remission, and the celebration is in honor of his completing treatments,[3][15] the last one was in June 2013.[10] His mother shared that the decision was made to wait until the treatments were complete so that Miles would be strong enough for the day, and also it gave him something to look forward to while undergoing treatments. "This wish has meant closure for our family and an end to over three years of putting toxic drugs in our son's body," said Miles' Mom on the Make-A-Wish site.[13] During his treatments Miles was "fascinated with superheroes. They were crimefighters and saviors. And they always won in the end."[16] When the San Francisco Make-A-Wish asked Miles what he wanted more than anything else, he replied, "I wish to be Batkid."[16]

Batkid Day[edit]

The Damsel in distress and Batman actors next to one of two black Lamborghinis which served as the Batmobile.

Organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation,[17] the San Francisco Greater Bay Area chapter, the event was aided throughout by social media.[9][18] The chapter sent out an email a month prior to the event asking for supporters, initially hoping for just several hundred people to be a part of the closing ceremony.[8][9] The request soon spread, by the night before the event over 12,000 volunteers pledge to be a part of making Batkid day happen.[3][8] Estimates are 10,000-12,000 people took place at various venues to cheer on Batkid.[3][12][16] Many dressed as superheroes in support.[9]

Miles was told he was just going to visit San Francisco to pick up a costume so he could dress like Batman;[12] instead, he found himself to be the sidekick helper to an actor dressed as the superhero.[3] His younger brother was dressed as Batman's sidekick Robin.[16] He was watching a local TV news broadcast in the families hotel room, when the broadcast was interrupted by a flash announcement from San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr appealing for help from Batkid.[19][20]

He left Union Square in a 'Batmobile' with police escort,[19] and soon was on the scene of a damsel in distress, who was tied up on the train tracks of the San Francisco historic cable cars in the Russian Hill neighborhood.[3][21] They also disabled a plastic replica of a bomb.[19] Crowds roared every step of the adventure with many of the onlookers holding signs supporting the mini-superhero, and chanting "Bat kid, bat kid".[19] Police Chief Suhr has pre-recorded a number of messages to Batkid serving as the emcee for the events.[17] Batman had a special video watch which would play each message from the police chief as needed.[22] Batman and Batkid were transported, along with Miles' family, in two black Lamborghinis adorned with Batman logos, and escorted by police.[3][20]

His next exploit was to aid in stopping The Riddler from robbing a bank vault in the financial district.[3] Following the capture of The Riddler, the crime-fighting duo refueled for lunch at Burger Bar in San Francisco's Union Square, as thousands filled the area to show support.[23]

The Penguin and a henchman actors from SF Batkid Wish

His final adventure was presented to him by a flash mob dance performance of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," which directed him to chase after another villain, The Penguin, who drove out of the Union Square car garage with the San Francisco Giants' mascot Lou Seal tied up in a convertible Bentley.

The Penguin (Mike Jutan) "kidnapping" Lou Seal for S.F.'s Batkid Wish experience

The Penguin's car took off along the streets of San Francisco, followed in pursuit by Batman and Batkid in their Bat-Lamborghinis, en route to AT&T Park.[3][20][24] In AT&T Park, The Penguin taunted visitors, attempting to get then to chant "Penguin! Penguin! Penguin!" in support of him, rather than the chant the crowd preferred, "Batkid! Batkid! Batkid!" Batkid and Batman arrived, climbing stairs at AT&T Park, and ultimately chasing The Penguin through the park. After a chase through the cable car, The Penguin exploded a flash pot after saying, "I hope you like traps!" Batman and Batkid then climbed through a series of obstacle courses, in hot pursuit of The Penguin. They slid down the park slides, finding The Penguin's "lair", and then chasing him down to the mini-Baseball diamond in the stands. Batkid freed Lou Seal and Batman chased The Penguin, ultimately capturing him and handing him over to officers from the S.F. Police Department.

At the end of the day Batkid was taken to SF City Hall where the largest of the crowds gathered in the thousands for a rally. He was given the key to the city by San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.[3] He also received a video Tweet from President Barack Obama at the White House as part of the effort.[3] The U.S. Justice department's U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag "unveiled" indictments for both the Riddler and the Penguin with conspiracy charges.[3][15] He was also presented with a Federal Bureau of Investigations "raid jacket," and a S.F. Police Department cap.[21]

Batkid: The Official Make-A-Wish Story is a ten minute video produced and directed by John Crane Films located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Director John Crane and crew of 12 staged and captured all of the action using three primary cameras, Go Pros, and roving cameras.

Cast[edit]

Batman -- Eric Johnston (inventor/software engineer)[25]

The Penguin - Mike Jutan (software engineer)[26][27]

Damsel in Distress -- Sue Graham Johnston

The Riddler -- Philip Watt (local actor)

Lou Seal -- Mascot of the San Francisco Giants

Lou Seal has served as mascot of the San Francisco Giants since 1996. He was at the third crime scene visited by Batkid, who saved him from The Penguin.

Coverage[edit]

The events were live video blogged by the San Francisco Chronicle, the largest newspaper of the city. TV crews followed the events, including CNN.[23] It was also reported live from site to site and articles/photos/videos were posted on sites including Fox News, The Guardian, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, IGN, Yahoo! News, CBS News, Mashable, WIRED, Hollywood Reporter, NPR, Huffington Post, The Telegraph, Gawker, USA Today, New York Times, Jezebel, Business Insider, ABC News, World News with Diane Sawyer, CityNews (Toronto, Canada), BBC, The Times of India, TIME, CNET, TMZ, Good Morning America, and more.[13][20] Local ABC News had an embedded digital reporter and aided in the initial news break of the day.[20] People around the world followed events on Twitter feeds as well as live video feeds, and social media.[13][15][28][29]

There were 406,960 tweets on the day of the event, using either the #batkid or #SFBatkid hashtag on Twitter.[30] Mashable also announced that Batkid was discussed in a total of 117 countries, and the news reached somewhere between 750 million-1.7 billion people worldwide, according to social-media agency Clever Girls Collective.[30] More than 21,683 Instagram and Twitter photos were posted by Friday afternoon.[14] This single Buzzfeed article garnered over 2.5 million hits within 3 days of the event.[31] Public interest brought so much traffic to the Make-A-Wish Foundation's website that it crashed.[32]

The San Francisco Chronicle released a special edition paper in honor of the events with the headline "Batkid Saves City," and articles written by fictional Batman related journalists Clark Kent (Superman's alter ego) and Lois Lane (his journalism partner and sometimes love interest).[19][33] The following Sunday the San Francisco Enquirer wrapped the regular Sunday edition with a page devoted to Batkid as the Gotham Enquirer, proclaiming Batkid "The City's Hero."[34]

After Batkid Day[edit]

On April 8, 2014, Miles Scott dressed as Batkid threw the ceremonial first pitch to Matt Cain at the Giants' 2014 home opener.[35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levenson, Eric (November 15, 2013). "Watch Make-A-Wish Turn San Francisco Into BatKid's 'Gotham City'". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Batkid's origin story: Video shows how Make-a-Wish foundation turned San Francisco into Gotham City". Daily Mail. November 17, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "San Francisco rallies for 'Batkid' Miles Scott, leukaemia survivor". BBC News. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ Hockaday, Peter (November 15, 2013). "Special 'Batkid' front page to appear in Saturday’s Chronicle". SFGate Blog. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Pace, Giacinta (June 6, 2007). "Make-A-Wish fulfills 150,000th dream". NBC News. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ Our Mission from Make-A-Wish Foundation website
  7. ^ "Make-A-Wish History". Make-A-Wish Foundation International. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "‘Bat Kid’ gets his dream day as SF transforms into Gotham City". The Irish Times. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d Fernandez, Lisa (November 16, 2013). "SF Morphs Into Gotham City for "Batkid" Battling Leukemia". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (November 17, 2013). "S.F. becomes Gotham, with Mar as extra villain". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ "SFBatKid takes over San Francisco with Make-a-Wish Foundation". SlashGear. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Jennifer Pearson (November 17, 2013). "Ben Affleck joins past Caped Crusaders Michael Keaton and Christian Bale to praise Batkid Miles Scott". Daily Mail. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d Chappell, Bill (November 15, 2013). "Holy Empathy! Batkid Lives Superhero Dream In San Francisco". NPR. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Batkid's proud mom: Miles is a superhero". Los Angeles Times. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c "Saving damsel, capturing villains fills day in The City". Gotham Examiner (San Francisco Examiner - special edition). November 17, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c d "San Francisco turns into Gotham City for Batkid". Daily News (New York). November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  17. ^ a b "Police Chief Greg Suhr on How 'Batkid' Saved San Francisco". The Wall Street Journal. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ Garber, Megan (November 15, 2013). "Batkid: A Heartwarming, Very 2013 Story". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Video: Batkid saves San Francisco as charity makes sick boy wish come true". The Daily Telegraph. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e ABC7 News, 11am broadcast November 15, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "San Francisco’s Caped Crusader ‘Batkid’ Is Darling Of Social Media". CBS San Francisco. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Batkid: San Francisco transforms into Gotham to make 5-year-old's wish come true". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Batkid becomes US superhero for a day". The Australian. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Batkid Restores Peace to the City". NBC Bay Area. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  25. ^ McWhertor, Michael (December 14, 2013). "How one ex-game developer helped grant Batkid's wish to save Gotham City". Polygon. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Mike Jutan - Official Twitter". 
  27. ^ "Mike Jutan's World: The day Batkid defeated me, and rekindled hope in humankindness". 
  28. ^ "Five-year old leukemia survivor takes San Francisco by storm as ‘Batkid’". Russia: RT. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Batkid Saves San Francisco, Becomes Live-Stream Sensation Gallery". The Hollywood Reporter. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Taylor, Chris. "How Batkid Conquered the World, by the Numbers". Mashable. 
  31. ^ Broderick, Ryan. "Everything You Need To Know About Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Adorable, Crime-Fighting Batkid". BuzzFeed. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Batkid Saves San Francisco from Riddler, Penguin and Crashes Make-A-Wish Website (Video)". TheWrap. November 15, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  33. ^ Elias, Paul; Thanawala, Sudhin (November 15, 2013). "Calif. Boy With Leukemia Wows Crowds as 'Batkid'". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ San Francisco Examiner, as Gotham Examiner, Front page. November 17, 2013.
  35. ^ http://blog.sfgate.com/giants/2014/04/08/batkid-throws-out-sf-giants-first-pitch-on-opening-day/#22282101=0