Hundreds ordered Big Macs to help out a friend with a big heart last night. Miles Banks, an 18-year-old Peekskill High School senior underwent heart surgery on May 10. The Peekskill High School student council and interact club teamed up with McDonalds on Route 202, where Miles worked, to hold a fundraiser to help cover Miles' $690,000 medical costs.
In January Miles caught pneumonia and tests revealed that he had an enlarged heart caused by an unknown virus. The college-bound football captain, who had never experienced a serious medical condition before, was told he would need a pump placed in his heart while he waited for a transplant. Leading up to the surgery Miles became more ill and the day he was supposed to undergo surgery for the pump he had a low-grade fever, which prevented doctors from performing the procedure.
"We were floored," said Darryl Banks, Miles' dad. Darryl explained that the Make a Wish Foundation representatives working with the family encouraged them, and said that an organ could arrive at any moment. Just as they said that the doctor returned to the family and announced they had found a heart for Miles.
"If this was a movie on TV, I'd say they made this up," Darryl said.
"I had to be brave for the family, but I've never cried so much in my life," Darryl said. "It was tears of joy."
While the family has United Health Care medical insurance, the heart surgery was performed at Westchester Medical Center, which is out of United's network. The family had no choice but to go through with the surgery at Westchester medical because at the time the donor heart came in Miles was on life support machines and could not be safely transported elsewhere. The health insurance company will only cover $10,000 of the cost of the $700,000 transplant surgery, said Darryl, who works as a paralegal.
Friends and family immediately pitched in to raise money for the family. Last night hundreds of community members and family bought their dinners from Mickey D's, knowing 10 percent of the proceeds would be going towards the Banks'. From 5 to 9 p.m. students and teachers worked at the fast food chain, serving endless lines of the Banks family supporters. Linda Banks, Miles' mother, flitted around McDonalds with an infectious smile, taking photos of her son's friends and handing out thank you cards.
Watch the video above to see Miles' supporters.
To donate to the Banks family you can send a check to
"PHS Student Council Miles Banks Fund"
1072 Elm St., Peekskill, NY