First She Survived Cancer, Now She Will Be The Youngest Person To Go To Space
Hayley Arceneaux will be on the first civilian flight to space arranged by SpaceX at the end of 2021.
Hayley Arceneaux has always hoped to visit all seven continents before she turned 30. The 29-year-old has had to push back this goal though, as she will be visiting space instead prior to entering her third decade.
“I did ask, ‘Am I going to get a passport stamp for going to space?’” Arceneaux said in a statement to the New York Times. “But I don’t think I’m going to. So I’m just going to draw a star and the moon in one of my passports.”
A physician assistant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Arceneaux is set to be one of four people on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which is due to lift off from Florida at the end of this year. This will be the first crewed space mission to circle Earth where no one on board is a professional astronaut.
This groundbreaking adventure has been organized by Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire who acquired launch from SpaceX. Isaacman wanted this to be a mission that included more than just the super wealthy, giving 2 of the 4 available seats to St. Jude.
One of them will go to a random sweepstakes winner, where the funds will be used to support the hospital. The other: a healthcare worker who symbolizes hope (aka Hayley Arceneaux).
When Hayley was 10, she was a patient at St. Jude. Diagnosed with bone cancer, she spent time at St. Jude receiving treatment and getting to know the incredible staff. After this experience, she made it a goal to work at St. Jude’s later in life. She wanted to be a mentor to patients, acting as a shoulder to lean on throughout their shared experience of childhood cancer.
And she did just that. Arceneaux was hired last year by St. Jude to work with children with leukemia and lymphoma. Each day, she helps to give hope to young patients going through something she knows too well.
Not only will Arceneaux be the youngest person to go to space, but she will also be the first person to have prosthetic body parts to enter orbit. Her resilience and incredible mission of empathy can be a message to all of us in remembering that the sky is never the limit – you can do anything you set your mind to.