Inspiration4 space launch raises millions for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Inspiration4 crew blasted off into the Florida night sky Wednesday for an unforgettable planned three-night stay in space.

Onboard are four civilians, including a CEO, an entrepreneur, a long-time St. Jude supporter, and a 29-year-old St. Jude physician assistant with a significant tie to the hospital.

“I am so thankful for my journey with cancer because it gave a love for life, just a zest for life, and a confidence to say yes to opportunities,” said Hayley Arceneaux, who went from being a patient at St. Jude to getting a window seat on board the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.

The purpose of the SpaceX mission is to conduct scientific research designed to advance human health on earth and long space flights.

The flight is also designed to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a goal to reach $200 million for the hospital.

In honor of St. Jude, a fifth crew member was on board.

Once the crew reached zero gravity, the crew unleashed their zero-gravity indicator, a stuffed puppy representing the hospital’s specialty-trained facility dogs.

Arceneaux says she’s bringing something special to space as well.

“One thing that I’m really excited about that I’m bringing to space is this old picture of me. This is when I was 10 years old and going through bone cancer treatment,” said Arceneaux.

For Arceneaux and the other crew members, this mission is about so much more than a trip to space. It’s also about bringing hope for those here on earth.

Arceneaux will be serving as the crew’s chief medical officer.

In between experiments, she says she plans to call some of the St. Jude patients from space.

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