Miracles are a State of Mind
Hailey Arceneaux is from Louisiana. When she was just ten, she came home complaining about aches in one of her knees. Her mom offered to take a look and her family doctor had misdiagnosed it to be a sprain, but her mother wasn’t convinced. She underwent tests when the lump just wouldn’t heal. It turned out that she suffered from osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
Her father, using the power of the Internet, found that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has a track record of treating such issues using around a dozen rounds of chemotherapy, a limb preservation surgery with knee replacement, and placement of a titanium rod in her left thigh bone along with associated physical therapy.
While at the hospital, she was known to be the most gracious and mature patient they had ever seen, keeping a cheerful attitude and supporting her parents who were obviously concerned but coped with the situation since their girl didn’t cry or complain even as she lost of all her hair, compromised her immune system, and endured the chemotherapy sessions.
Hailey was so grateful that she vowed to go to Memphis to work at the hospital as an adult, and she did. Today, she is a physician assistant there.
Cancer at an early age defined her life’s goal, which is to help the hospital that she considers to be the institution that saved her, working to successfully treat others who are suffering from that same disease.
That choice to become part of the medical industry and her positive and grateful attitude, which makes being around her a constructive experience, led to her being picked by the hospital to receive a call from SpaceX, Elon Musk’s multi-planetary travel company, to ask if she’d like to be not only the youngest American to ever go up to outer space but to be the first with a prosthetic body part to do it.
The mission, now named Inspiration4, is planned to launch on the 15th, enter Earth’s orbit, circle the globe for three days at an average speed of 28,000 km/h, and land on the 18th.
Hailey turned one of this world’s worst experiences (cancer and chemotherapy) into an opportunity to find inner strength and express gratitude and cheer.
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She was rewarded by being approached by SpaceX, of which she had zero affiliation. She didn’t fill out any forms, didn’t beg any employees, and didn’t try to “sell” herself to the mission.
To me, this exemplifies the integrity of life, always advancing those that are happy with their lot but aspire to do more.
Elon Musk, who is certainly a controversial figure, was asked about SpaceX and the billionaires’ race to the stars, attacking the bunch and saying that we have so many issues to solve here before we ever think about other planets. He replied that the interviewer was right and that 99% of our thinking, doing, and funding ought to be focused on Earth, but that 1% should be devoted to space and that there is no point to life if it’s just about solving problems.
While each of us is entitled to an opinion and I’m not here to say whether Musk is right or wrong, I think that we should all remember that having fun is not a betrayal to those who are less fortunate than we are.
Exploring and discovering is the human pursuit of the story of this vast universe. Smiling, while doing it is what makes this effort worthwhile.
I’ve been miserable and I’ve been on top of the world in my journey through life. Being grateful is always the cure for any pain. Sometimes it plants the seed for a future miracle, and at other times it just puts one back on course.
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