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November 15, 2013

5-year-old a hit as ‘Batkid’

SAN FRANCISCO — Dressed in a black Batman costume, his fists clenched as he took on foe after foe around San Francisco, a 5-year-old boy who has battled leukemia for years fulfilled his wish Friday to be his favorite superhero.

In the process, Miles Scott became a darling of social media and attracted thousands of fans around the country, including the White House.

Batkid was called into service by Police Chief Greg Suhr and spent the day zooming from one “crime scene” to the next. Accompanied by an adult Batman impersonator, Batkid rescued a damsel in distress from cable car tracks, captured the Riddler as he robbed a bank, and saved the San Francisco Giants mascot — Lou Seal — from the Penguin’s clutches.

Miles was able to fulfill his wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the city and volunteers who stepped forward to help. He was diagnosed three years ago, underwent chemotherapy treatment and is now in remission.

Batkid had a police escort worthy of a dignitary as he sped around the city in a black Lamborghini with a Batman decal, with officers blocking traffic and riding alongside him on motorcycles. The White House sent out a tweet encouraging Batkid to “Go get ’em!”

The 5-year-old at first seemed overwhelmed by the outpouring, quietly working through each scenario with clenched fists and tight lips amid delirious chants of “bat kid, bat kid.” But by the time he reached City Hall to receive a key to the city in front of the biggest crowd of the day, Miles was all smiles and bravado. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proclaimed Nov. 15 to be “Batkid Day Forever.” The San Francisco Chronicle, KGO-TV and thousands of volunteers participated in the event.

At Union Square, the Chronicle distributed hundreds of copies of special-edition newspapers with the headline “Batkid Saves City.”

“This is off-the-hook San Francisco,” Suhr said.

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