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The superhero who captured the world's heart

Five years ago, San Francisco was transformed to Gotham City, making a wish come true for 5-year-old Miles Scott of Tulelake who spent the day dressed as Batkid, battling villains alongside Batman.

Nov. 15, 2013, was a day to remember, one that lured more than 16,000 volunteers, a City Hall crowd of 20,000, more than 555,500 tweets, comments from 117 countries, a video from President Barack Obama, a special edition of the San Francisco Chronicle with front-page coverage, and the inspiration for a full-length documentary film, “Batkid Begins.”

The amazing display of public support stemmed from Miles’ 2013 Make-A-Wish request to be Batman. The wish from Miles, who had been challenged with leukemia since he was a year old, went viral. It resulted in an unexpected outpouring of support from people worldwide, especially in San Francisco, where business as usual turned unusual for a day.

“It doesn’t seem like five years,” says Nick Scott, Miles’ father. “Everything’s back to normal.”

Now 10 years old and cancer-free, Miles is a fifth-grader at Tulelake Elementary School. He plays baseball and basketball, helps on the family farm and, through 4-H, sold his first market goat at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair. He also enjoys science and robotics.

“I think he’s starting to understand more now,” Nick says of his son’s realization of the impact of the events five years ago, when he and Batman cruised the city squashing crime. “He thinks about it.”

Miles’ wish also celebrated the end of his treatment that year and provided relief for his family. As his mother, 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.”

After Miles’ day as Batkid, the family established the Batkid Fund to help support the three organizations that assisted the Scotts during Miles’ treatment: Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

“It seems only fitting that following a day when the world demonstrated caring and compassion for Badkid, Batkid can now help others,” Natalie and Nick Scott said after Miles’ amazing day.

“It’s a pretty special organization, what they do for kids,” Nick says of Make-A-Wish.

Miles makes annual visits to his oncologist and has been in remission from leukemia for the past five years. Natalie also recently wrote to Make-A-Wish to ask whether she could become a volunteer wish granter. Along with his parents, Miles lives with his younger brother, Clayton, who was dressed as Robin on the day of his wish, and his youngest brother, Ben, who was born afterward.

“We go once a year for checkups and, knock on wood, everything’s been fine. So far,” Nick says. “He’s been chugging along.”

And what happened to Miles’ Batkid outfit, one he’s since outgrown?

“We put it away in the cedar chest,” Nick says. “It’s something to pull out later and remember.”

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net.

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