'Batkid' helps out Medford patients

Chances are you've heard of Miles Scott, the young leukemia survivor who donned the Dark Knight's guise and swept across San Francisco fighting crime on Nov. 15, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

What you may not know is that the blue-eyed boy beneath the mask has extended his hero work to helping a Medford hospital that has helped him in his fight against cancer.

Miles, 5, of Tulelake, Calif., has been battling leukemia with the help of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center pediatricians since he was 18 months old. The cancer is in remission.

Following Miles' adventures as "Batkid" across a faux-Gotham City, the San Francisco 49ers Foundation set up a fund that will continue to help other young RRMC patients undergoing treatment.

"There were so many gifts coming in after his San Francisco appearance that the family just thought, 'We really want to pay back those who helped us,' " said Susan Mendenhall, manager of annual giving at the Asante Foundation.

Natalie and Nick Scott, Miles' parents, wanted the dollars collected in the Batkid Fund to go to Asante, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington, where Miles received additional treatment, and to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area, who granted his wish.

"Everyone at Asante Rogue Regional is so great with children," Natalie Scott said in a release. "We are so thankful."

The Scott family could not be reached for additional comment Monday.

Asante officials said Miles' fight against leukemia began after he fell off a stool in April 2010. Doctors checked him out and found a lump behind his ear. Testing revealed Miles had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Pediatricians applauded his bravery in the coming years, when his family made monthly treks from Tulelake to Rogue Regional Medical Center for his treatments.

"He was a little boy with a quiet strength," said Dr. Ellen Plummer, pediatric hematologist and oncologist with RRMC. "He has undergone treatment with a grace that is above his age, really."

Plummer added Miles wore superhero costumes and T-shirts to treatment sessions and endured the chemotherapy and injections with courage.

"He would march in fairly officially, and not very much whimpering," said Dr. Diane Williams, Asante pediatric oncologist. "He tolerated his treatments quite well."

Physicians said they did not expect Miles' experience or his wish to get the national attention it received, but added it's deserved. It didn't just tell his story or pit him against Gotham's criminals, they said; it brought needed hope and awareness to other children trying to win the fight against cancer.

"I think that's one of the best and most positive things that, to my mind, has come out of this," Plummer said. "He got this wonderful experience, but he's also helped to improve the quality of treatment and the care of children he won't have even met. I think that's pretty amazing. That makes him a superhero in my mind."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

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