March 31, 2014 -- When San Francisco was transformed into Gotham last year to grant the wish of a Batman-loving kindergartener who suffered from leukemia, the city pulled out all the stops to make it a success.
But first he had to get there.
Batkid's family drove more than five hours from his hometown of Tulelake, in upper northern Caliornia, to reach the City by the Bay. And for many other Make-A-Wish recipients to experience their wishes, they must take to the skies.
"Wish kids travel to almost any destination you can imagine," Make-A-Wish spokesperson Josh deBerge told ABC News. "It could be to rural South Dakota to be a paleontologist, the Bahamas to parasail or Paris to meet a world-renowned artist."
And it takes a village to raise those carrier wheels up.
Roughly 2.5 billion airlines miles are needed to grant 10,000 wishes per year that involve travel, according to the Make-A-Wish foundation, one of the world's leading charities that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
"With nearly 75 percent of wishes involving travel, our need for airline miles is critical,” said David Williams, president and chief executive officer for Make-A-Wish America, in a statement. “Donating airline miles provides an alternative way for supporters of Make-A-Wish to help grant wishes without ever opening their wallets.”
According to the organization, the more popular destinations in the United States include Orlando, Hawaii, Los Angeles/Orange County and New York. And approximately 8 percent of wishes granted involve international travel, said deBerge, with the the most popular overseas destinations being France, Italy and Australia.
Last year, Make-A-Wish raised more than 176 million airline miles--equal to more than 350 round-trip tickets--for wish travel. Some were even provided by celebrities: Professional wrestler John Cena donated 4.5 million miles to the foundation last year, making him "by far the largest donor."
But as the foundation gears up for the summer travel season they are hoping to exceed that number of donations this spring.
Through the Wishes in Flight April Campaign, individuals who fly on participating airlines including Delta, United, and US Airways can donate their unused frequent flier miles in just a few easy steps by visiting wish.org/miles.