SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- This time last year San Francisco was preparing to become Gotham City so Miles Scott, a leukemia survivor from a small town near the Oregon border, could become Batkid and save the city. Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area made Miles' wish happen and as we approach the one year anniversary of that spectacular day, we now have a clearer picture of all the good that has come from that one wish being granted.
Pint-sized and packed with courage, Miles took Gotham City by storm last year when he saved the city from evildoers. The then-5-year-old had spent much of his life battling leukemia but on this day, he instead fought off villains like The Penguin and even rescued a damsel in distress.
The carefully-orchestrated event brought approximately 20,000 people out to the streets of San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Millions watched online and shared the event on social media. The city truly felt like the center of a very positive and uplifting universe.
Now a year later, the men who played The Penguin and Batman are remember what a remarkable phenomenon it was. "It's truly insane. Good job. Only you would pull this off," Mike Jutan told Eric Johnston Friday.
This weekend, they'll get to see Miles again to mark the anniversary. "We're getting together, just a small event with the family and all the major players, all the people who helped out on the day," Jutan told ABC7 News. Jutan is a computer graphics engineer at Industrial Light & Magic. But on Batkid Day, he was The Penguin.
Johnston is an inventor and acrobat. He played Batman and thinks of this weekend's private ceremony as an expression of gratitude. "It was everybody doing everything they could, including a news anchor," he said. "And the SF Opera, the circus center, the police department, all of these local groups of people in the community coming out and saying, 'What can I do?'"
Miles is now 6-years-old. Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area sent us a photo of him all ready for school as a big first-grader. Thankfully, he is still in remission.
"Seeing Miles take things from the event and grow over the year is all that any of us are in it for," Johnston said.
But what came out of the Batkish Wish was so much more than anyone could have hoped for.
"It was such an opportunity to allow people to see the magic that Make-A-Wish does all the time," Jutan recalled.
Because of the Batkid Wish and the fact that it went viral, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area has seen a 45 percent increase in pending wishes. There's also been an increase in donations in the past year. And the chapter is on track to grant more wishes than ever before in a single year -- 390. That means more children like Miles will get to see their wishes come true.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr will be at the Batkid anniversary ceremony on Saturday. He was instrumental in making Miles' wish more authentic as he pleaded for Batkid's help to restore order to the city.
I spoke with the chief and he says the positivity from that day made the year fly by and he's amazed he still gets asked about it.
Click here for information on how to make a child's wish come true.
'Batkid' reunites with Batman, Penguin one year after he saved city