The crew of the Polaris Dawn mission, which will push the boundaries of human space travel, took time out of training yesterday to make their first official visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.
In February, Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR), announced plans for the Polaris Program, a first-of-its-kind effort to further humanity’s exploration of space and to help solve the most challenging issues on Earth. The program will consist of up to three human spaceflight missions, beginning with Polaris Dawn, which will perform the first commercial spacewalk, and culminating in the world’s first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board. Like Inspiration4, the first all-civilian mission to orbit commanded by Isaacman last fall, the Polaris program seeks to support the mission of St. Jude.
“We are deeply honored that Jared Isaacman chose to raise awareness and funds for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude through the historic Polaris Dawn mission and were excited to welcome him back to the St. Jude campus along with the rest of the crew,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Inspiration4 raised nearly $250 million for St. Jude and brought much-needed attention to the unrelenting need for investment in childhood cancer research and treatment. Funds raised from the Polaris Dawn mission will help fuel the six-year $12.9 billion St. Jude strategic plan that will make a global difference in the fight against childhood cancer,” said Shadyac.
“At the end of Inspiration4, I said we were just getting started – both in terms of space missions and in supporting St. Jude,” Isaacman said. “$250 million is simply not enough to fulfill St. Jude’s mission of curing childhood cancer.”
Isaacman will command each of the Polaris missions and will be joined on Polaris Dawn by mission pilot Scott Poteet, who previously visited St. Jude while serving as the mission director for the Inspiration4 mission. Crew members Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon were first-time visitors to St. Jude. Gillis is a Lead Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX and crew mission specialist for the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission. Menon is also a Lead Space Operations Engineer at SpaceX and the crew medical officer for the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission.
During their visit to campus, the crew toured the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center, a state-of-the-art research facility that will forever link the mission of St. Jude and their space travel to a larger cause – that no child should die in the dawn of life. The highlight of the day for everyone was time for the crew to get to know some of the children and families they are helping. The children peppered the crew with questions about life in zero gravity, looking at the Earth from space, the upcoming spacewalk and why the crew chose to come to St. Jude.
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% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. 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. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.