Henrietta Lacks Saved the World

Henrietta Lacks with her husband.

A great woman once gave her life to save the world’s and we have no clue that there was ever a superhero among us.  Her name was Henrietta Lacks.  She was a tobacco farming black woman from Virginia, who eventually moved to Baltimore where her children still reside.  Her children, now up in age themselves, are still struggling to benefit from their mother’s legacy of immortal cells.  These cells are still, nearly 60 years later, the most important cells in medical history.  These cells were key to some of the most important medical advancements we benefit from today. 

These cells, in the medical world are known as HeLa cells.  As if you haven’t already noticed, the cell names comes from her first and last names.  They helped scientists build the world of modern medicine.  With these cells, scientist were able to make major breakthroughs in polio, Parkinson’s disease and, according to grio.com, “treatments for leukemia and hemophilia, and advancements for studies on in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping.”  Once they were able to begin selling the cells it became a  multi-billion dollar industry in itself.  But, where is the money going and why is one of her son’s homeless, another that just had a triple bypass, but is now suffering from mounting hospital bills for lack of insurance.   Where is their compensation and why don’t they have it?

The author of the book that has opened up this medical can of worms is Rebecca Skloot.  Her new book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” will hopefully open the door to legal advancements on medical discoveries that have happened because of her.  But how do you compensate for the billions of medical treatments and people saved by her?  Well how about millions or even a billion dollar settlement along with Johns Hopkins offering the family free healthcare to them all?    Read here to be amazed by the exciting life of  Henrietta Lacks…and how she’s still living.

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