Cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will conclude 2021 by being the youngest American to embark on a journey to space, unaccompanied by any professional astronaut.
Hayley Arceneaux was the first individual chosen for the mission Inspiration4x along with three other people by space enthusiast and CEO of Shift4 Payments, Jared Isaacman. He hopes to raise $200 million for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital from his space mission.
On 22 February, Jared Isaacman shared a tweet from his official Twitter saying, “Meet commercial astronaut Hayley Arceneaux. She is an amazing person & I know she will be an inspiration to people all over the world. Not just those w/ dreams of going to space, but to all people who need hope when encountering life challenges. Haley, welcome to @inspiration4x.”
As a child, Arveneaux was diagnosed with bone cancer which destroyed all her dreams of going to space. She was treated at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, Areneaux works at the same hospital as a physician assistant and hopes to inspire her patients to dream big.
In an interview Areneaux said “I got a phone call pretty much out of the blue in early January, and it was from St Jude, they basically said, ‘Do you want to go to space?’ Immediately I said, ‘Yes, yes, absolutely!'”
She then added, “Being the youngest American to go to space is such an honor but honestly, what I’m more excited about is being the first pediatric cancer survivor to go to space.”
Adding to that, she expressed, “I would just love to inspire my patients to dream big and to not limit themselves. And I really hope to show them while I’m in space that absolutely anything is possible.”
Areneaux visited NASA as a child and dreamt of going to space, but her bone cancer and the steel rod implants in her left leg prohibited her from fulfilling her dream.
Nevertheless, defying all odds, Areneaux will be the first 29-year-old American to visit space after battling cancer.