Calls and e-mails came in from around the world.
Diane Sawyer’s people called. CNN called. Documentary producers. German TV crews. There were very few people who didn’t want to talk to Batman, to thank him, to hear the story one more time — how a Baltimore businessman man named Lenny B. Robinson (dressed as the Caped Crusader) was catapulted into fame after being pulled over in his Lamborghini Batmobile on his way to visit sick children in the hospital.
“It’s been crazy,” he told me this morning.
When I unmasked Batman, hundreds of e-mails also came in from parents of children who were suffering from cancer or who had succumbed to theawful disease. Two e-mails came from the parents of Ben Goldfogle, a Silver Spring boy who died from Leukemia in 2009. They made me cry.
Tom Goldfogle’s note started this way: “My son would have loved Lenny and looked forward to his visits — what he does is so meaningful. Living at the hospital, as many of us did, can make visits like this something to look forward to and hold on to -- anything that can bring a smile or hope is beyond measure. My guess is with today’s story, Lenny will receive a lot of new requests. I am hoping after reading this you will be so kind as to pass on my e-mail to him.”
I did. The request was this: Would Batman be willing to appear at an event Ben’s parents had started to raise money for Children’s Hospital in the District? It’s called Ben’s Run — a 5K run and 1 mile run/walk. Last year, the event raised more than $33,000 for Children’s. The event is this Saturday in Silver Spring, at 8 a.m., and you can still have time to register.
Batman and his Batmobile will be there.
“I was really touched about Ben’s Run because it had to do with a family that lost a son, and it reminded me of Hope for Henry,” Batman said, mentioning a local organization he often helps that was founded by parents who lost a son to cancer. “When I saw this was for Children’s Hospital I knew I had to do it.”
Who was Ben? His parents describe him this way:
While Ben faced enormous health challenges that threatened his life as early as kindergarten, everyone saw a courage and brave kindness in him. He always tried to do the right thing — honest to the very core — and cared for others before himself.
When he couldn’t do what other kids could, he found joy in other things. When he could do what other kids could, he was in the middle of the excitement, or more often than not, leading the way.
When Ben was feeling well, he always wanted friends to come to the house or to go to their houses to play. Many kids and adults played a Wii game or two with Ben. He was perceptive beyond his years, with a sense of humor that would catch you off guard.
If you can get to this event, go — not just to see the famous and wonderful Batman, but to remember Ben and raise money for all the other children fighting for their lives.