Health

Money Spent on 'Batkid' Event Could Have Saved Many Children's Lives

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Leukemia patient Miles Scott, 5, got to live out his dream last month when parts of San Francisco were turned into "Gotham City" and he got dress up as "Batkid."

The event was staged by the Make-a-Wish foundation, which grants wishes to terminally ill children.

According to the Associated Press, the "Batkid" event included sound systems, video screens, a Lamborghini Batmobile, police escort, adult Batman impersonator, a woman "rescued" off cable car tracks, capturing the Riddler at a bank and rescuing the San Francisco Giants mascot from the Penguin.

However, the dream-come-true came with a price and now the Make-a-Wish foundation is trying raise $105,000 to reimburse the city of San Francisco, reported Gawker.com.

Controversial utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer wrote an Op-Ed today in The Washington Post that the normal cost for a Make-a-Wish fantasy is $7,500, which could be used to save the lives of children.

Singer claims that if $7,500 had been donated to the Against Malaria Foundation, then numerous families in areas where malaria exists could have gotten bed nets, which would have saved the lives of "two or three children (and that's a conservative estimate)."

Singer calculated that if $7,500 could have been given to the Seva Foundation, it would have been used for treating "trachoma and other common causes of blindness in developing countries, it could protect 100 children from losing their sight as they grow older."

"It’s obvious, isn’t it, that saving a child’s life is better than fulfilling a child’s wish to be Batkid? If Miles’s parents had been offered that choice — Batkid for a day or a cure for their son’s leukemia — they surely would have chosen the cure," wrote Singer.

Singer then recalled a study in which more people gave money to a needy girl whose background they were told about than to an organization that was actually saving children's lives.

He recommended using web sites such as GiveWell or The Life You Can Save to find charities that save lives.

Sources: The Washington Post, Associated Press, GiveWell, The Life You Can Save, Gawker.com, Against Malaria Foundation, Seva Foundation

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