Memphis, TN

Memphis Cancer Survivor Chosen To Travel In Space

Tree Langdon

Hayley Arceneaux will be the ambassador for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

She’s a 29-year-old physician’s assistant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and now she’s going to Space.

On January 5th of this year, she was surprised by a call from St. Jude’s, asking her if she’d like to accept an offer to travel to space with Inspiration4.

Inspiration4 is the first all civilian space mission. 

They recently offered three people an opportunity to be part of the four-person crew that will be launched into orbit in the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in the Fall of 2021.

Raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a key mission goal and it’s also a key part of the crew selection.

That’s one reason why Hayley Arceneaux was recently chosen as a crew member.

She’s been connected to St. Jude’s for a long time.

When she was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with bone cancer and spent a year at the hospital, undergoing chemotherapy.

She also had surgery to replace part of her femur with an internal prosthesis.

She was quite ill from the chemo and had to learn how to walk again.

When she went in, her dream was to be an astronaut.

By the time she left St. Jude’s, she knew she’d be back. 

The nurses and doctors inspired her to work towards a medical degree and she’s now working as a physician assistant there.

The mission commander is Jared Isaacman, the billionaire tech entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments.

  • Jared is a skilled jet pilot who is undergoing extensive mission training to prepare for all aspects of this flight.
  • He has partnered with SpaceX to fund this adventure.

Reuters, Hayley Arceneaux

There are a total of four seats on the trip.

  • Anyone who donates to St. Jude during the month of February will be entered into a random draw for a chance to join the others on the journey.
  • Another spot will go to a business owner who uses Shift4 Payments.
  • Arceneaux has been offered the seat being reserved for someone who embodies the spirit of St. Jude’s.
  • The final seat is for the mission commander, Isaacman.

The theme for the three seats is:

  1. Hope — They have chosen Hayley Arceneaux as the ambassador who will represent the vision on which St. Jude was founded: compassion, unity, equality, and inclusion.
  2. Generosity — this person will be someone who has supported the St. Jude mission, finding cures and saving children.
  3. Prosperity — this crew member will be an inspiring entrepreneur who uses the Shift4Shop payment platform to launch their dream business.

Arceneaux’s mother was initially hesitant when she heard her daughter was considering space travel.

When they visited SpaceX to learn more about the training and the mission, she realized it was the trip of a lifetime and is now very supportive of the journey.

Isaacman was delighted to read about Arceneaux’s history with St. Jude’s and inspired by her story.

Now that they’ve met, he’s even more excited to have her along on the crew.

“She already inspires me, and I’m certain she’ll inspire many others as they get to know her in the course of our mission.” PEOPLE

Arceneaux is excited at the thought that other people will be inspired by her trip.

She will be the first person in space with a prosthetic, which gives young patients at the hospital hope.

She wants to set up a video call with St. Jude’s children in the hospital if it’s at all possible.

Being able to see her, a former cancer patient, in space, could give them a much-needed boost.

The Dragon spacecraft will maintain a low earth orbit for up to five days.

The ship will depart from Launch Complex 39A, which is the same place Apollo and Space Shuttle missions use for their missions.

Bon voyage Hayley Arceneaux!


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I love to connect humanity to technology. I write news, and fiction, exploring Worldview plots. Was a CGA/CPA in a past life. I have a lot of life experience. Parenting, Art, Finance, Investing, Auditing, Project Management, Writing, Story Grid Method, Science, Forensic Anthropology, Extensive overseas travel including Asia, Greece, Thailand.

Seattle, WA

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