The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is written by Rebecca Skloot. This book tells us about how an African-American woman whose cancer cells were used to create an immortal cell line for experiments called HeLa. Henrietta was a poor black tobacco farmer with only middle-school education. It also tells us the story behind the woman who revolutionized modern medicine. With the use of these cells scientists could study viruses, human genetics, drugs, environment stress and vitamins. HeLa has helped build thousands of careers. Since 1951, science has progressed much faster than our ability to figure out what is right and wrong about tissue culture.

Henrietta Lacks was born Loretta Pleasant in Virginia. She was one of the 10 children in her family.
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When Henrietta found out she had cancer, she didn't tell her family about it. Henrietta was able to keep her secret from everyone until she had started x-ray therapy, and had to go to the hospital everyday. She broke out the news to her cousin Sadie and Margaret and told them she would be okay. But after her x-ray therapy, she became very ill and her skin was all burned. She could feel that blackness spreading inside of her. While operating Henrietta, the doctor took samples of her tumor and sent to Gey’s lab for culturing. Since, all human cell usually died in the lab, Gey’s assistant, Mary wasn't excited about Henrietta's cells. Nothing much was happening to those cells of Henrietta. Until about two days later, when they start to grow uncontrollably. Later in 1951, the cells became popular and everyone wanted them. Gey started sending HeLa cells to many different researchers around the world. Henrietta’s cancer cells spread rapidly in her body as they did in the lab. She had rounds of radiation and x-ray therapy, but she didn't survive her disease. She died at thirty-one, leaving behind a husband and five young children. After Henrietta died, Day allowed a cousin and his wife to move into their house to take care of the children. But both Ethel and Galen were abusive to the children. Everyone loved Henrietta except Ethel. It was because Galen liked Henrietta more than his own wife, that’s why they abused her children to get revenge on Henrietta. Ethel starved the children and made them work way too hard. Deborah was sexually molested by Galen and Joe was beaten and isolated from the rest of the family. When the oldest brother Lawrence moved in with his girlfriend Bobbette, she insisted that they take in his younger siblings. But the damage was already done. Joe

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