Five years ago, San Francisco was saved from unspeakable evil. 5-year-old Miles Scott was Batkid, and dressed in a cowl and cape, the pint-size crusader rescued a damsel in distress, defused a bomb and chased an archvillain around AT&T Park. The police chief dispatched officers to help, and the mayor gave the little hero a key to the city.

It was a wish Miles had sent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the whole city was in on it. 10,000 people showed up to line the boulevards to cheer on the Batkid as he was escorted through the city on his way from one elaborately staged scene of heroics and daring-do, involving police, firefighers, cable cars and special effects.

He was driven around in a black Lamborghini Batmobile, and took his role very seriously.

As epic as that day was, there’s an even happier ending. After having been diagnosed at the age of 20 months with leukemia, Miles is now 10 years old. His daily visits with doctors are now just annual events, and he’s been declared cancer free.

Miles lives with his parents and two younger siblings on a family farm in Tulelake, California. He’s in fifth grade now, and enjoys Little League baseball, science and robotics. The wish granted to him hasn’t been forgotten by his family, though. His mother Natalie applied to be one of the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s official wish-granting volunteers. With 60 chapters across the U.S., the Make-a-Wish foundation grants 15,000 wishes a year to children with critical illness.

For a long time, Miles truly believed he was Batkid.

“He just thought he was doing his job,” said Jen Wilson, one of the Make-a-Wish directors who put the citywide event together. “He took his work seriously. He thought Batkid might need to stick around.”

Make-A-Wish kids do tend to beat the odds compared to other kids with life-threatening illnesses, and that’s where Miles was actually a real life hero. Thanks to his heroics as the Batkid, the foundation experienced a huge surge in donations.

“It was an incredibly powerful boost to our organization,” Wilson said. “Batkid was responsible for that.”

And that’s the power of hope. Perhaps that’s the greatest superpower of all.

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