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She beat childhood cancer. Now she’s headed to space

Encouraging the children at St. Jude is paramount to the vivacious Arceneaux.

“I really hope to inspire these kids by going on this mission to dream big, that they can do anything. I was talking to this little girl yesterday and she was saying that she’s upset that she can’t run or jump. And I said, “You know, I can’t run or jump either because I have a prosthesis in my leg but that’s not stopping me from going to space.’ This mission is opening up space travel to anyone and I think that in itself is going to motivate people and give them so much hope,” she said.

Arceneaux will be the first person with a prosthesis to fly into space. The metal rod would normally preclude someone from passing the astronaut’s rigorous medical exam, but no such requirement exists for the private flight.

Arceneaux said she is not scared and has been medically cleared for the trip.

The 29-year-old said she loves to travel and had hoped to fly to all the continents before reaching age 30 later this year. Instead, she will head to space on a journey that will bring her full circle to the hospital that gave her such hope as a child.

“We are going to try to set up a video call with the St. Jude kids while I’m in space,” she said excitedly. “Kids are so visual and I hope that them being able to see me in space really shows them what their future can look like. I’m the first St. Jude patient to go to space, the first pediatric cancer survivor, but I know I’m not going to be the last.”

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