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St. Jude patients guide Inspiration4 astronauts via Voices of Inspiration immersive digital experience

Virtual reality game featuring St. Jude patient voices, artwork available Oct. 15, 2021

Memphis, Tennessee, Oct. 15, 2021

Award-winning artist Lucas Rizzotto and tech company Z3VR have joined forces to create Voices of Inspiration, a virtual reality experience featuring the voices and artwork of St. Jude patients, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. The game is a tie-in to Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian space mission to orbit the Earth that has raised more than $225 million for St. Jude to date and included St. Jude childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant turned astronaut Hayley Arceneaux as one of its four-member crew.

“What brought the project into focus in the beginning was an insight that Nicole Stott, astronaut and founder of The Space For Art Foundation shared with us: the journey of an astronaut and a cancer patient have a ton in common,” said Z3VR CEO Josh Ruben. “They are plunging into an unknown high-risk environment, far away from friends and family, with weird food and even increased levels of radiation.”

The parallels between the challenges of going to space and living with cancer form the basis of Voices of Inspiration, which presents St. Jude patients as sources of wisdom guiding the crew of Inspiration4 through an unknown world. Although the questions are about space travel, they resonate with anyone about to undergo a major, life-changing experience away from home — an experience that St. Jude patients understand deeply.

In the game, users ascend to space in an elevator that takes them past walls decorated with St. Jude patient artwork. When the elevator stops, they find themselves in virtual worlds themed after questions the Inspiration4 astronauts posed to St. Jude patients before their historic launch.

Four still frame images from the VR game Voices of Inspiration.

Stills from Voices of Inspiration

  • Mission commander Jared Isaacman said that going to space was a great adventure and asked, “What kind of adventures do you dream about doing?”
  • “This is going to be our first time going into space and to be honest with you, I’m a little nervous about it,” confessed Chris Sembroski, the mission specialist. “Do you have any advice for me on dealing with nerves before a big change like this?”
  • Pilot Sian Proctor wondered how to deal with homesickness when being miles away from friends and family.
  • Inspiration4 medical officer Arceneaux prompted a reflective moment when she said, “I would love to hear about what you have learned from your experience with cancer. How do you think that it will help you inspire others in the future?”

As users journey through the game, they encounter glowing orbs that play the responses of St. Jude patients to the astronauts’ questions. These voices offer intimate insight into the feelings and aspirations of the young patients at St. Jude. “I’ve learnt that it’s important to help others even when you have your own struggles” said one St. Jude patient, while another declares that “Every person, in their heart, they have kindness in it.” 

Kindness is at the heart of Voices of Inspiration, which at its core is a project in empathy. By centering the voices and feelings of St. Jude patients, the game gives users the chance to hear and learn from these young people. The collaboration with Rizzotto and Z3VR was inspired by an earlier partnership with Facebook’s Oculus VR for Good program on the Hall of Heroes, a virtual reality experience that celebrates the stories of St. Jude survivors of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is no stranger to the gaming community – thanks to the support of longstanding brand partners, such as DrLupo, Game Theory’s MatPat, Gaming Community Expo (GCX) and others who participate in St. Jude PLAY LIVE.

“We launched St. Jude PLAY LIVE in 2014 to engage content creators and pair fun with purpose to profoundly impact children around the world facing cancer and other catastrophic diseases,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Since the program’s launch, more than $40 million has been given to St. Jude by generous donors. Gamers all over the world have the ability to make a difference in the lives of children everywhere through creative, immersive interactive experiences like Voices of Inspiration. We’re thankful to Lucas Rizzotto and Z3VR for bringing this project to life to help St. Jude expand and accelerate critical research into the most deadly forms of childhood cancer and other key areas including blood disorders, pediatric neurological diseases and infectious diseases.”

Voices of Inspiration can be downloaded from the Oculus App Lab starting Friday, Oct. 15. 

About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

About Z3VR
Z3VR, which develops extended reality (XR) tools that analyze micromovements in the eye to passively detect neurocognitive conditions, is spearheading a multi-agency effort to launch a platform for XR-powered research in space.

About Lucas Rizzotto
Lucas Rizzotto is an award-winning artist who crafts amazing experiences using futuristic technology. Born in Brazil and raised in the internet, Lucas also has a Youtube series named "Lucas Builds The Future" where he creates his groundbreaking projects on-camera in hilarious fashion. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and support him on Patreon.

Media Contacts:
To connect with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, email

Josh Ruben, CEO, Z3VR

Lucas Rizzotto, Developer of Voices of Inspiration