The Batkid (Make-A-Wish Foundation)
CBS -- Could there be a better candidate for feel-good story o the year than Batkid?
The 5-year-old, cancer-battling superhero was a global media sensation, and he gave the Make-A-Wish Foundation publicity you just can’t buy.
But the volume and complexity of the requests coming into the charity now are creating a whole new challenge.
Sixteen-year-old Raymond Remick's dream was to meet his football heroes, the New York Giants. On Friday, the Make-A-Wish Foundation made his dream come true.
"You know, they really make it happen. I think it is awesome," said Raymond.
Raymond was born with a dangerous heart condition, a fact never far from his father's mind.
"It's very satisfying," dad Jim Remick said of the event with the Giants. "From a parental perspective, there is a little bittersweet to it. So there has been a lot of emotion going on."
Once upon a time, the giant welcome the Remicks received would be seen as an extraordinary success for Make-A-Wish. That is, until Batkid happened.
Last month, 5-year-old Miles Scott was granted a superhero-sized wish. The young cancer patient wanted to be Batman for a day.
He donned a mask and cape and, thanks to thousands of volunteers, fought a series of staged crimes around San Francisco. The video of his exploits, and how the entire city enabled them, became an Internet phenomenon.
The publicity helped increase donations to Make-A-Wish by 26 percent during the holiday season,
"We thought it was going to be a great day, we felt confident about that. But we didn't anticipate on a scale of what it eventually became," said Paul Miles, vice president of development for the organization.
Miles says Make-A-Wish is careful not to exploit its participants. Most of them, including the Remicks, don’t want to be a part of something so public.
"I thought maybe it would be huge and that would be awesome. But then, I thought, I do want to keep it personal. You know, I want to be able to do what I want without hundreds of thousands of people following me," said Raymond.
The charity will have granted 14,000 wishes by year’s end, ranging from meeting celebrities to trips to amusement parks. The average cost per wish is $8,000. But after the so-called Batkid event, the number of wishes has increased – as has the number of the more complex requests.
"I have to say without a doubt that it’s a positive experience for our organization and I might suggest that just because something becomes harder doesn’t make it negative,” Miles said. "So if this means we got to kind of pivot and make some other considerations than we will certainly do that."
Even before Batkid, requests for more complicated wishes were on the increase. Make-A-Wish is now exploring ways to use social media to publicize other such events, hoping they too go viral.
By the way, as part of his wish, Raymond and his family will attend the Giants game on Sunday.