Memphis, Tenn. — Hayley Arceneaux may no longer be orbiting the Earth, but it’s safe to say she was still floating on Cloud 9 when she returned to St. Jude on Thursday.
The children’s research hospital in Memphis held a homecoming parade for Arceneaux just days after her trip on the Inspiration4 crew ended by re-entering Earth’s orbit and splash landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Chants of “Hayley! Hayley! Hayley!” rang throughout the halls and the now amateur astronaut and first American ever to fly to space with prosthesis stopped to talk to groups of St. Jude patient families and staff.
Gravity resumed its role in Arceneaux’s life, pulling tears down her cheeks as she learned that the fundraising effort between St. Jude and herself had already exceeded the $200 million goal they originally set. Last checked, donations from the out-of-this-world endeavor stood at $225 million.
Thanks to those donations, St. Jude said it’s been able to embark on its new six-year, $11.5 billion strategic plan to triple its global investment to impact more than 400,00 kids with cancer around the globe each year.
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