St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announced Monday that former bone cancer patient and survivor Hayley Arsino will join billionaire Jared Isaacman on the first manned flight of SpaceX later this year.
At the age of 29, Arseno will become the youngest American person, and the first person to have a prosthetic part of his body, to go to space.
“My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” Arsinoe, who now works as a physician assistant at St. Jude’s Hospital, told the Associated Press. “The disease has really taught me to anticipate the unexpected and go ahead with the journey,” she added.
Arsino grew up in Louisiana and dreamed of becoming an astronaut when her family traveled to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston when she was 9 years old. Shortly after that visit, she received life-changing news when she was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 10. As part of her treatment, Arsino had to undergo surgery at St. Jude’s Hospital to replace her knee and get a metal rod in her left thigh bone.
The young woman has been chosen as one of four people to join Isakman, the pilot and founder of a payment processing company, on his charitable mission. Issacman announced the mission earlier this year, pledging to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude to help fight childhood cancer.
Indeed, the 38-year-old businessman, who has a net worth of $ 2.3 billion, has allocated $ 100 million of his own money to the cause.
In a tweet on Monday, Isaacman said he was excited that Arsino would join him in space knowing that she would be “an inspiration to people all over the world.”
In addition to Arsenio, the other seats in the Isaacman mission will be filled with a winner chosen from the lottery that raises money for St. Jude and by the entrepreneur who wins a competition sponsored by the Isacman company “Shift for Payments”. Isacman is expected to announce the winners in March.
Currently, the mission is scheduled to start in October at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the flight will last from two to four days.
Isaacman, who bought the Elon Musk launch from SpaceX for an undisclosed sum, says he believes this mission “is the first step toward a world where everyone can go and venture among the stars.”
He added, “I know that the money raised and the awareness that is being raised from this mission will change people’s lives .. And that means a lot to me as a former patient and employee. Now that I know that we will be able to help many children because of this mission.”
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