Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and pediatric bone cancer survivor, has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to Space.(via REUTERS)
Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and pediatric bone cancer survivor, has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to Space.(via REUTERS)

Woman who beat bone cancer as a kid is now headed into space. Here’s her story

Hayley Arceneaux will go into space as a crew member on SpaceX's Inspiration4, the world's first all-commercial astronaut mission to Earth's orbit.
Reuters |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:35 PM IST

Bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux is thrilled to be going into space.

As a crew member on SpaceX's Inspiration4, the world's first all-commercial astronaut mission to Earth's orbit, Arceneaux hopes that as the first person to go into space with a prosthesis, she can inspire others.

"This mission is opening up space travel to anyone and I think that in itself is going to motivate people and give them so much hope," said the vivacious 29-year-old.

Hayley Arceneaux, a pediatric bone cancer survivor, has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilan mission to Space.(via REUTERS)
Hayley Arceneaux, a pediatric bone cancer survivor, has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilan mission to Space.(via REUTERS)

At 10, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and was treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Arceneaux relates how she spent a difficult yet meaningful year in hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and then surgery that replaced part of her femur with a prosthesis.

She credits the hospital with saving her life, and now works there as a physician's assistant.

Image of Hayley Arceneaux as a kid.(via REUTERS)
Image of Hayley Arceneaux as a kid.(via REUTERS)

SpaceX, owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk, is targeting the four-person mission for the fourth quarter of 2021 and it is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The flight will be captained by Jared Isaacman, CEO of payments technology firm Shift4Payments, who chose Arceneaux.

Unlike the NASA and SpaceX flights that go to the International Space Station, this one will travel around earth for several days, during which time Arceneaux said she expects to participate in science experiments.

Her prosthesis would normally preclude someone from passing the astronaut's rigorous medical exam, but no such requirement exists for the private flight. Arceneaux said she is not scared and has been medically cleared for the trip.

Hayley Arceneaux has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to Space.(via REUTERS)
Hayley Arceneaux has been chosen for historic Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to Space.(via REUTERS)

Encouraging the children at the St. Jude hospital was first on her mind when Arceneaux was asked what she might aim to achieve in space.

"We are going to try to set up a video call with the St. Jude kids," she said. "I hope that being able to see me in space really shows them what their future can look like.

"I'm the first St. Jude patient to go to space, the first paediatric cancer survivor, but I know I'm not going to be the last," she added excitedly.

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