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Cancer survivor turned physician assistant given seat on board spacecraft

Posted at 11:19 PM, Feb 23, 2021

Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who survived bone cancer as a child, has been given a seat on board the first all civilian mission to space, the hospital announced this week.

The seat was donated by Jared Isaacman, who is committed to donating $100 million to the hospital. Isaacman is serving as the mission’s pilot for the Inspiration4 Crew, which is targeted for a late 2021 launch. Arceneaux’s seat is one of three being donated by Isaacman.

The mission will have four seats, named Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity.

The other two are available to the general public through February 28, with details available at the mission website,, St. Jude Children’s announced. Arceneaux will claim the “Hope” seat.

“It’s an incredible honor to join the Inspiration4 crew. This seat represents the hope that St. Jude gave me — and continues to give families from around the world, who, like me, find hope when they walk through the doors of St. Jude,” said Arceneaux in a statement. “When I was just 10 years old, St. Jude gave me the opportunity to grow up. Now I am fulfilling my dreams of working at the research hospital and traveling around the world. It’s incredible to be a part of this mission that is not only raising crucial funds for the lifesaving work of St. Jude but also introducing new supporters to the mission and showing cancer survivors that anything is possible.”

The craft will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon Spacecraft.

The crew will undergo instruction, including emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial- and full-mission simulations, St. Jude Children’s said. The crew will spend several days in space before splashing down in Atlantic Ocean.