Cancer survivor hopes to join private space flight


After beating bone cancer, Hayley Arceneaux believes that going into orbit on SpaceX’s first private flight shouldn’t be a problem.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announced that the 29-year-old physician assistant will launch into space later this year.

Arceneaux, a former St. Jude patient, will become the youngest American in space, surpassing NASA record holder Sally Ride by more than two years.

He will travel with businessman Jared Isaacman, who is using the space flight he bought to raise money for charity. They will be joined by two more space flyers yet to be chosen.

Arceneaux will be the first person to launch himself with a prosthesis, a artificial device that replaces a missing or injured body part.

When he was 10 years old, Arceneaux underwent surgery at St. Jude to replace his knee and had a piece of metal placed in his left leg. He still limps and occasionally has pain in his legs. Limping is a term that means walking slowly due to injury.

Arceneaux has been cleared to fly by SpaceX and will serve as the crew’s medical officer.

“My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” he recently told The Associated Press. “It made me hard, and then I also think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and move on.”

Arceneaux wants to show his young patients and other cancer survivors that “the sky is not even the limit anymore.”

“It’s going to mean a lot to these kids to see a survivor in space,” he said.

Isaacman announced his space flight on February 1, promising to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude. He himself will provide half the amount. As the self-proclaimed commander of the flight, he offered one of four seats aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to St. Jude.

The hospital chose Arceneaux among its many workers who had once been patients. The idea was that one of them could represent the new generation, said Rick Shadyac, president of the St. Jude finance organization.

Arceneaux was at his home in Memphis, Tennessee, when he received a surprising call in January. He was asked if he would represent St. Jude in space.

A lifelong space fan who loves adventure, Arceneaux has traveled extensively and loves roller coasters.

Isaacman, who flies fighter jets for fun, considers it perfect.

“It’s not all supposed to be about getting people excited about being an astronaut one day, cold”Isaacman, 38, said last week. “It is also supposed to be a inspiring message of what we can perform here in the earth.”

Isaacman has two more people to choose from and plans to announce them in March.

One will be the winner of the contest that you donate to St. Jude. So far, more than $ 9 million has been raised for the hospital, Shadyac said. The other seat will go to a business owner that uses Isaacman’s credit card processing company.

The launch is planned for this fall at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, with the spacecraft orbiting Earth for two to four days.

I am John Russell.

Marcia Dunn reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it to learn English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

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Words in this story

charity – n. an official organization that gives money, food, or aid to people in need

artificial – adj. not natural, but made by people

adventure – n. an exciting and sometimes dangerous experience

Roller coaster – n. an amusement park ride that is like a small, open train with tracks that are high above the ground and have hairpin turns and steep hills

cold – adj. very fashionable, stylish or attractive in a generally approved way

inspiring – adj. make people want to do or create something or lead a better life

perform – v. succeed in doing (something)

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