After beating the odds in her battle with cancer, Hayley Arceneaux is set to break the glass ceiling when she becomes the youngest American woman to go to space aboard a SpaceX flight later this year.

The 29-year-old former cancer patient and current research assistant at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital survived bone cancer and has now secured a seat on the private flight to space. She will become the youngest American in space, beating Space Shuttle veteran Sally Ride by more than two years.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Arceneaux said she was toughened up by her lengthy struggle with bone cancer.

“My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” she said in an interview published Monday. “It made me tough, and then also I think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and go along for the ride.”

At the age of 10, Arceneaux had knee-replacement surgery and had a titanium rod inserted in her left thigh bone as part of her cancer treatment. This will also make her the first person with a prosthesis to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

Bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will be on SpaceX later this year. Bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will be on SpaceX later this year. Photo: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

In an interview with People magazine, Arceneaux said the hospital made a childhood dream come true with its announcement she would be a member of the SpaceX crew.

"When I was on the phone and they asked me," she says, "I remember I had a mirror in that room, and I looked in the mirror, and my hands were shaking because it was such a shock and so overwhelming, but in an exciting way."

She now works at St. Jude, helping to comfort new leukemia and lymphoma patients.

“A couple of days ago, I was talking to one of my new patients. I said, ‘Cancer’s going to change you. But it’s going to make you who you are. And you’re going to be so much stronger because of it,’” she said in a statement.

St. Jude patient and research assistant Hayley Arceneaux is going to space. St. Jude patient and research assistant Hayley Arceneaux is going to space. Photo: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Arceneaux joins a private space mission dubbed Inspiration4, a program launched by St. Jude to raise money for the hospital. She’ll join Jared Isaacman, the 37-year-old billionaire CEO of payment processing company Shift4 Payments, who purchased his own seat on SpaceX.

Isaacman pledged to raise $200 million for St. Jude, with half of that coming from his own pocket. Speaking to the AP last week, Isaacman said that Arceneaux is a perfect fit for the mission.

“It’s not all supposed to be about getting people excited to be astronauts someday, which is certainly cool,” he said. “It’s also supposed to be about an inspiring message of what we can accomplish here on Earth.”

The self-appointed flight commander, Isaacman said he would announce who will fill the other two open seats next month. The first will be drawn from anyone making a donation to St. Jude this month, and the other will go to a business owner who uses his Shift4 Payments service.

Led by Tesla founder Elon Musk, SpaceX has seen mixed results in getting its space programs off the ground. After its first successful human launch  in May 2020, a test flight of the Mars prototype rocket Starship SN9 failed in a crash landing in early February.

Hayley Arceneaux set to become the youngest American in space. Hayley Arceneaux set to become the youngest American in space. Photo: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital