- 29-year-old childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux is set to board a SpaceX flight later this year.
- Arceneaux will be joined by three others as part of the first-ever all-civilian crew to enter space.
- Billionaire Jared Isaacman is chartering the flight and will select two more to join.
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29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, who survived cancer as a child, is the newest member of an all-civilian crew headed to space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
Arceneaux had bone cancer as a child, but she had a list of life goals: beat cancer, learn Spanish, travel the globe, help other children with cancer, and someday, go to space, the Today Show reported. Arceneaux, now a physician assistant at St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, has checked off almost every goal. Now she’s set to achieve the last one after billionaire Jared Isaacman selected her to take one of four seats on a SpaceX flight he chartered for later this year.
Isaacman founded payments company Shift4Payments. When he chartered the flight, he planned to fill the seats with himself, a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital worker, and a Shift4Payments customer. The fourth seat is being raffled off to benefit childhood cancer research at St. Jude’s, for which Isaacman hopes to raise $200 million and donate $100 million out of his own pocket. The mission, called Inspiration4, will be the first to take off with an all-civilian crew and no professional astronauts.
On Facebook, Arceneaux said, “I am so grateful for this incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity and honor, and I cannot WAIT to show the world what cancer survivors can do.”
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
As a child, Arceneaux was treated for bone cancer at St. Jude’s, where she had metal rods replace parts of the bones in her left legs, The New York Times reported. That will make her the first person with a prosthetic body part to go to space, as well as the youngest American, the Times said.
In a news release, Richard C. Shadyac Jr., head of the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, said Arceneaux “will be an incredible ambassador through this mission and inspiration to children fighting cancer and survivors worldwide.” Others who will join Arceneaux and Isaacman will be announced in the coming weeks.
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