MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Scheduling is underway to speak with Inspiration4 crew member Hayley Arceneaux. This September, she will be the first pediatric cancer survivor and youngest American to go to space, all to raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian mission to space led by commander Jared Isaacman. The 38-year-old founder and chief executive officer of Shift4 Payments [NYSE: FOUR] donated two of the four seats to St. Jude, with the goal of raising $200 million by 2022 for research and treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Isaacman has committed $100 million to accelerate developments and save more children worldwide.
Isaacman will occupy the mission seat that stands for Leadership. He donated two seats to St. Jude: The mission seat called Hope to Arceneaux and the Generosity seat to Christopher Sembroski, a 41-year-old aerospace industry employee at Lockheed Martin and United States Air Force veteran. The Prosperity seat will be occupied by Dr. Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old entrepreneur, educator, trained pilot and active voice in the space exploration community.
Arceneaux will serve as the crew’s medical officer. The 29-year-old is a physician assistant at St. Jude, where she was treated for osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, at age 10.
“I remember pretending to be angry as we arrived [at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital], but in reality, I was just so scared. At the time, cancer to me seemed like a death sentence because everyone I had known who had it passed away. As soon I entered the doors of St. Jude, however, everything changed. I felt hope, a sense of optimism that I could get through this,” Arceneaux recalled in a St. Jude Inspire blog post.
In 1962, the same year an American orbited the Earth for the first time, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitalcommitted to a different kind of uncharted territory: Finding cures. Saving children.® Nearly 60 years later, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
This mission is a cause for humanity to help children here on Earth and will be the first time civilians go to orbit as part of a mission, unaffiliated with any government space agency. The Dragon spacecraft plans to travel into space and orbit the planet for a few days before its water landing.
Interview Details and Quick Facts
Timing: To interview Arceneaux, please share your availability. This footage may be useful to replay during the Sept. 15 launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
- Not only are you the youngest American going to space, but also you are the first pediatric cancer survivor and first person with a prosthesis to go to space. Tell us what this means to you.
Her general response: She is excited to show her own St. Jude patients and kids around the world that they can accomplish their dreams.
- You were diagnosed with bone cancer (osteosarcoma) at age 10. Tell us about your experience and how it inspired you to become the physician assistant you are today.
Her general response: She will share her St. Jude story and how that inspired her career choice.
- Tell us about when you first received the invitation to go to space. How did you respond? What did your family think when they heard the news?
Her general response: She was excited and immediately asked family members who are aerospace engineers for their thoughts. They strongly encouraged her to go for it.
- Tell us about the space training experience and your favorite parts so far.
General response: She will be considered a commercial astronaut by launch date due to the training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. She may talk about
Centrifuge training, water survival training (for the landing) and the crew’s hike up Mount Rainier as a team-building exercise.
- I understand travel is one of your passions but living in the world of zero gravity isn’t something you had on your bucket list until now, right?
Her general response: Her goal was to travel to all seven continents before turning 30. She has visited over 20 countries to-date. The crew has bonded during training and plans to visit Antarctica after the mission.
- We know this mission is also a fundraising campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. How can people get involved? (*Consider the content below for a graphic on screen.)
General response: There are a number of ways to get involved to help raise awareness and support for St. Jude while celebrating this unique mission.
Be sure to visit stjude.org/inspiration4 to:
- Make a donation or form a fundraising Inspirational4 crew;
- Learn about once-in-a-lifetime auction packages;
- Sign up for a children’s science fair called the St. Jude EPIC Challenge; and
- Purchase I4 merchandise online.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.