|An excerpt from the book was published in the February 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and is online here.|
After the article was published, many people asked how they could make donations directly to Henrietta's immediate family. If you want to give money to Henrietta's immediate family, you can click here to donate using PayPal.
(Direct donations to the Lacks family are not tax deductible, and certain larger donations may be subject to federal gift tax.)
Welcome to the home page for the family of Henrietta Lacks. Mrs. Lacks was a wife, mother of five, native of rural southern Virginia, resident of Turner Station in Dundalk, Maryland—Henrietta went to Johns Hopkins complaining of vaginal spotting. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer which quickly consumed her body despite of radiation treatment. Henrietta life was cut short on October 4, 1951. Not all of Henrietta Lacks died that day. She unknowingly left behind a piece of her that still lives today—it’s called the HeLa cell. Her cells were taken and used for medical research without her consent. And for more than 20 years after her death Henrietta’s family would learn how science retrieved her cells and of her enormous contribution to medicine and to human life. The birth of the HeLa cells were making its mark worldwide. After all the “HeLa” cells continue to multiply daily as no other cell outside the human body, a breakthrough in cell research. With that being said the world will never be the same due to the “HeLa” phenomena which began in 1951. Since then there has been a mass production of the cells which have traveled around the globe, even into space! Even though Henrietta’s cells launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, the family never saw any of the profits or that Henrietta received the recognition she deserves. The “HeLa” cells are continually used for research; in the early 50’s the cells were used to help develop a polio vaccine and now today, the cells are used for cancer and aids research and theories about the cause and treatment of diseases. Henrietta, unknowingly, changed the medical & science world forever! She has been called many things: Immortal, Heroine of Modern Medicine, Medical Miracle, and Wonder Woman. To her family she was and is: daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother. Henrietta was a phenomenal woman doing her life time, in Henrietta’s passing her medical contributions exhibits what a phenomenal woman she really was. She continues to enhance, many, many lives who are unaware of her past existence. After all, she has a rich and important history and a great legacy that she left for her family to carry.
The New York Times best seller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot takes readers on a fantastic journey into the world of Henrietta and science.