Austin, Texas- The 29-year-old cancer survivor, Hayley Arceneaux, got an abrupt question from her employer the previous month: Would she like to go to space?
Hayley is also a physician assistant at St. Jude children’s hospital. “I recall laughing,” Hayley told The New York Times. “And then, I just answered- ‘Yes! Yes, like, put my name down.’”
Hayley will be one of four team members on Inspiration 4, the first rocket to take a group that consists entirely of civilians- not qualified astronauts- on an everlasting voyage to orbit the Earth. It’s scheduled to take off in October 2021. Hayley will be accompanied by Shift4 Payments CEO and billionaire Jared Isaacman. He is financing the mission and strategies to use the event to raise more than $250 million for St. Jude’s research.
Before last month, Hayley said she didn’t know anything about Jared Isaacman.
“I did not expect this. I hadn’t even known the mission at that point because it was still a top-secret,” Arceneaux told CNN America.
By agreeing, Arceneaux is now on the way to become the youngest American, the first-ever person with a prosthesis voyage into space, and the first pediatric cancer survivor, a milestone that she said will inspire differently-abled people who previously thought such huge grand adventures were off-limits.
Advocates and Researchers have long struggled to fight the stigma that people with disabilities are less suited to space travel. The zero-gravity environment, which can make it easier for people with disabilities to move around freely, and the perspective many people develop due to their disability.