Imagine if you had cancer as a child. Imagine the joy you’d feel the day your doctor said you were cancer free.
When that day came for Hayley Arceneaux at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she cried.
Oh, she was happy. And yet …
“I remember crying, because I didn’t want to leave St. Jude,” she said. “And I still don’t want to leave. This place means everything to me.”
So Hayley decided, even as she was being treated for osteosarcoma at age 10, that she wanted to work someday at St. Jude, to show her gratitude to the place that was saving her life, to help sick children as she was being helped.
And now Hayley, the former St. Jude patient turned St. Jude physician assistant, is taking her love for the research hospital to amazing new heights.
Hayley has been chosen to join the four-person crew of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for St. Jude to raise funds and awareness. We’ve launched a $200 million fundraising initiative, with $100 million already pledged by mission commander Jared Isaacman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shift4 Payments, a St. Jude partner.
Jared has given St. Jude two of the four crew positions, representing the mission pillars of Generosity and Hope. The Generosity seat is being awarded to a member of the public as part of the fundraising campaign.
The Hope seat is Hayley’s, and can you imagine anything more fitting? The girl who overcame cancer, who vowed to work at the place that saved her, who calls it “truly the biggest honor of my life, getting to work with these kids,” is going to space on a mission meant to inspire support for St. Jude.
It’s an amazing story — and it wouldn’t have happened without you. Your generosity fuels the research that finds the cures that gives patients like Hayley hope, and a second chance at life. Your support advances our science. It doesn’t just save children; it gives them a higher quality of life as they grow up.
Hayley had limb-sparing surgery, saving her leg from amputation. The titanium prosthesis inserted in her leg could be lengthened by a remotely controlled device, as she grew, saving her from multiple surgeries and arduous physical therapy.
Thanks to your good heart and giving nature, that’s what’s possible at St. Jude.
Thanks to your love for the kids of St. Jude, patients like Hayley can grow up to do the most extraordinary things — and go to the most extraordinary places.
Richard C. Shadyac, Jr.
President & CEO
ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital