Louisiana native heads to space
Live streaming coverage of the launch will begin around 7:08 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When the latest Space-X capsule blasts into space Wednesday, it will carry four civilian crew members, including Louisiana native Hayley Arceneaux.
“I’ve been to five continents. I was hoping to see all the continents by the time I reached age 30. I did not think space would be added to that list,” Arceneaux said.
At 29 years old, the St. Joseph’s Academy graduate will be the youngest American to enter space.
“Hayley came to us in her sophomore year and she was such a wonderful addition to the class of 2010 here at St. Joseph’s Academy and we’re so proud that she has moved on to bigger and better things and helping those who are in most need and how she’s representing herself on that national stage has been wonderful to see, we’re so proud of her,” Stacia Andricain, principal at St. Joseph’s Academy said.
But when Arceneaux was 10 years old, she never imagined she would get to go to space, because she was battling cancer.
Arceneaux had osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, in her leg.
But the doctors at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital saved her life, and now Arceneaux will be the first pediatric cancer survivor and first person with a prosthetic body part in space.
“Cancer made me who I am. But not just cancer, St. Jude,” Arceneaux said.
Now as a physician’s assistant at St. Jude, Arceneaux helps save other kids’ lives.
“I knew from when I was in treatment that all I wanted to do was work at St. Jude’s. When I got my dream job it was the happiest moment of my life and it’s the happiest thing that’s ever happened to me, it’s truly the biggest honor of my life, getting to work with these kids,” she said.
And the fact that the Inspiration 4 mission raises money and awareness of St. Jude makes the trip more special for Arceneaux, who will sit on the seat representing hope.
“When the hatch closes on the four of us, I think I’m just going to be feeling a bunch of gratitude that I’m sitting in that seat, that for whatever reason I’m sitting in that seat and that I’m getting to represent all these kids. Other survivors, kids going through the trenches, going through treatment, and then the kids that aren’t with us. I’m representing all these kids and it’s a huge honor,” Arceneaux said.
And she hopes to give hope and inspiration to more people who dream of going to space.
“You can think big, and you can know that there are so many opportunities that are out there and a door closing on one side could be just a wonderful opportunity opening on the other,” Andricain said.
SJA’s principal said Arceneaux will carry a little piece of home with her into space- a pin in the shape of the SJA shield.
The Inspiration 4 crew will lift off at 7:02 p.m. Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Students at SJA will be wearing “space gear” to class Wednesday to support Arceneaux.
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