Interview – Hayden Geraghty, Future Space Traveller

You may not know this, but I have a very special friend in Ireland by the name of Hayden. Hayden and his mom, Caroline, have become my friends over the past several months through Twitter. I have come a bit late to Hayden’s story, but it is one so remarkable, I have to share it with you all. There is something incredible about Hayden that we have in common – we both LOVE Mars! Hayden has the raw ambition of an eight-year-old, though and I can see a great future for him if his passion for Space and Space travel are realised. There’s something magical about his enthusiasm and awe at the new Space Age we find ourselves in these days.

Hayden and the new Lottie Doll inspired by him

Hayden is no ordinary boy, though. He has a story that some parents can relate to, but that many of us struggle to grasp the challenges of. Hayden has Autism and ADHD. His family have, nonetheless, taken these challenges and turned them into opportunity for Hayden, thanks to his enthusiasm for space and astronomy. Hayden has had a busy summer of interviews, visits to Space-related events and, even an airshow. He’s also been chosen by Lottie Dolls, an Irish toy maker that creates dolls modelled after real children, to have his own Lottie Doll created in his image. He is very proud to be the inspiration behind the Loyal Companion Doll. A great story run in an Irish newspaper, the Derry Journal, reveals much more of the story behind the doll, if you’re keen to read more.

I had the privilege of doing a blog interview with Hayden, and with a little help from mum, Caroline, here is what he had to say…

Cheryl – How long have you wanted to be an astronaut?
Hayden – From the day I figured out I could speak when Tim Peake launched to space in 2015. Gaining a bigger interest in Space, I decided I would love to be an astronaut and travel to the Moon or Mars.

Hayden with Commander Chris Hadfield

Cheryl – Who are your favourite astronauts? Why are they your favourites?
Hayden – Tim Peake is my number one Hero. I’ve met with many astronauts and I love them all. Dan Tani was very cool and he loves to play golf. He said to me, “Hayden we need a golfer on Mars.”. Commander Chris Hadfield is very cool to and he read his book, The Darkest Dark, to me when I first met him.

Cheryl – What are some things you’d like to do as an astronaut?
Hayden – One thing I can’t wait to experience one day is floating in Zero Gravity. I would also love to take awesome pictures from Space of our beautiful planet Earth. And to walk on the Moon or Mars.

Cheryl – Why is it important that astronauts train so hard?
Hayden – Astronauts have to keep fit and healthy. Keeping bones strong and healthy for living in space. They need to eat very healthy foods. Astronauts need to be good at many things including swimming for training in deep pools to work on spacewalk training.

Cheryl –  Do you think people will go to Mars? What do you think Mars will be like to live on?
Hayden – Yes, people will go to Mars one day. It won’t be easy as it’s a very harsh planet with no protection like here on earth. I don’t think people will live there, but in future, a rocket will go and, hopefully, astronauts will walk on the planet. I would love a trip to the Moon, also, to walk through one of the Lunar craters.

Hayden shows thumbs up with his copy of Astronaut Tim Peake’s book, Hello, Is This Planet Earth?

It as been a delight getting to know Hayden and Caroline. I see a bright future for this young man and it’s thanks, largely, to the dedication of his family and his love of Space. Hayden is a special boy – not because of his Autism and ADHD – but in spite of them. His enthusiasm and delight for all things to do with Space and Space travel create a wonderfully nurturing and safe place for him to grow and overcome his challenges. If you’re on Twitter, look him up. You can follow his story at #Astronaut_Hayden.