On Friday, November 15th, I was blown away by the Make-a-Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area and the citizens of San Francisco. They managed to make a 5 year old leukemia survivor, Miles Scott, dream of being Batkid in Gotham City come true in a grand fashion. I was moved to tears at the outpouring of love and support to make one little boy’s wish come true. As I watched the day’s events unfold I was mesmerized by how many people volunteered. San Francisco practically shut down. People stopped working to cheer on Batkid. Parents let their kids play hooky because they felt having them witness Batkid was a more important lesson. As a member of gap’s 3Ts I couldn’t help but watch in awe with several tissues within an arm’s reach to dab away happy tears. To see so many give their time, talent, and treasure to make Batkid come to life gave me chills. If you missed the magic, this video sums it up: http://vimeo.com/79541124
Batkid cruised the streets of San Francisco in a Batmobile. His Batmobile was a black Lamborghini with custom Batman decals complete with a booster seat to keep the pint sized cape crusader safe as he navigated the city. I could only imagine the delight Miles’s family felt watching their son’s wish come true. Miles was diagnosed with leukemia a few months before his 2nd birthday. As Miles was going through chemo treatments his wish to be Batkid was the carrot his family dangled during his darkest hours. Part of the goal with wishes through the Make-a-Wish Foundation is having something to look forward to and hope for during the battle for their life. It had to be such a happy moment for Miles’s parents to watch their little boy, whose leukemia is in remission, live out his wildest crime fighting dreams before their very eyes.
Watching Batkid was so heartwarming it forced me to reflect on whether I knew any real life super heroes here in San Diego. I am lucky to say I do. In 2010 gap’s 3Ts were privileged to be introduced to the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) while we were searching for a local charity for our first ever golf tournament. After just one meeting with the founders of ENF, Richard and Diane Nares, it became clear that their small but mighty organization was the perfect fit for gap’s 3Ts and the Drives for Rides golf tournament was born soon after. While ENF offers many different support systems for low income families with children who are battling cancer their flag ship program is Ride with Emilio. Through Ride with Emilio they offer transportation services to families who otherwise would not have any way to get to their children to chemotherapy and other critical doctors’ appointments. ENF grants wishes every day through Ride with Emilio: the wish to get to the doctors and beat cancer.
Logistically it makes more sense for ENF to take kids to doctors’ appointments in vans rather than in custom Lamborghini Batmobiles. While I’m sure a Batmobile would be a tad more thrilling, the brightly colored vans offer happiness as well. I, along with most people, take having a car for granted. I drive to work and run errands daily without much thought. Imagine if you had no way to get your sick child to their appointment. What if you didn’t have a car and your only option was to take the bus? Imagine if you had to bring all of your children along to the appointment because hiring a baby sitter was not in your budget so you had to pay for bus fare for everyone. Now imagine after your child’s chemo appointment you have to then get back on the bus to start the long journey home. A bus is no place for a child who is sick. When an ENF van pulls up to deliver sick children and their families to critical doctors’ appointments they are doing more than simply giving a ride, they are delivering hope.
gap was not surprised in the slightest when Richard Nares was nominated as a top ten 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. CNN takes time out every year to recognize everyday people doing extraordinary things. When Richard and Diane lost their only son, Emilio, in 2000 they decided to turn their tragedy into hope for others. What started as giving rides in their own car gained momentum and turned into a nationally recognized 501c3 with Vans that now service both San Diego and Los Angeles. They give approximately 2500 rides a year. ENF gives kids the chance to beat cancer just like Batkid did.
Tomorrow, Richard will be attending the CNN Heroes awards show in New York honoring him and nine other everyday super heroes. gap of course has our fingers crossed for our personal favorite (Good luck, Richard!). Whether its Batkid saving a damsel in distress or Richard giving a sick child a ride to chemo, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling all over to see so much good in the world.
Both Batkid and Richard share a story. ENF started because Richard just wanted to help. Batkid received an overwhelming amount of people that wanted to help make his wish come true. Helping others is the number one thing 3Ters at gap aim to do. We give our time, talent, and treasure because we are a values-led company first. This quote by Anne Frank seems fitting to close this blog:
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
I want to say thank you to everyday heroes like Batkid and Richard because they prove that the above is true.