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St. Jude patient is putting his own touch on the Inspiration4 space launch

Ty was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma at just 2 years old.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The country's eyes will be on Inspiration4's space launch this week, but St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will have one special connection on the ground as the crew heads to the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Inspiration4 crew will travel in Tesla cars with license plates designed by 14-year-old St. Jude patient Ty to board the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. St. Jude not only treated Ty's cancer, but introduced him to his passion of art.

Ty was diagnosed at 2 years old with retinoblastmona, a rare form of eye cancer. While undergoing treatment, Ty turned to art for comfort. His medical team would have art supplies ready after procedures that required anesthesia. His parents recall that as soon as he woke up, he would turn to the canvas and paint. 

Where to get Inspiration4 updates

  • The window for the Inspiration4 launch is now planned to begin no earlier than 7:02 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Follow the St. Jude social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) for up-to-the minute updates. You can watch the launch and splashdown landing via stjude.org/inspiration4
  • Watch exclusive footage from the crew’s mission training in the third and fourth episodes of “Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space ” now live on Netflix.
  • Take a deep dive into the lives of the crew on Inspiration4 by listening to the St. Jude: Mission of a Lifetime podcast. This podcast documents the crew’s journey to space and features exclusive content. Find it on Apple, Google, Spotify and Amazon Music.
  • Check out the Inspiration4 auction to bid on one-of-a-kind experiences and items.
  • Before she blasts off into space, read how St. Jude survivor and physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux is preparing for this historic mission as the crew’s medical officer. Her latest “diary” entry for People magazine is now available.


About Inspiration4

Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit with a launch window that begins at 7:02 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Commander Jared Isaacman selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its beneficiary and committed $100 million to St. Jude to inspire others to raise an additional $100 million to accelerate research on devastating childhood diseases and save children all over the world. Isaacman donated two seats to St. Jude, one of which will be occupied by 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, pediatric cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude. Arceneaux will represent the pillar of Hope. The four crew members, including Isaacman and Arceneaux, will board the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and orbit the Earth for multiple days on the Dragon spacecraft, before they return to Earth with a smooth water landing.

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