The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

1575 words - 6 pages

The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, talks about the way that Henrietta Lacks’ cells changed the medical history by living for years and years, but many people didn’t know the real story behind the woman with the immortal cells. Other than knowing about the HeLa cells, no one had heard about Henrietta Lacks or how she came to be. Many people didn’t even know that Henrietta was black. No one knew about the life she lived, her family, where she worked, or anything else about this mysterious woman who changed medical history. That is… until Rebecca Skloot decided to go searching for information about her, and wrote this book.
Rebecca Skloot was a young student who didn’t really pay attention in class and never showed up because nothing really interested her. In biology class one day, her biology teacher talked about the HeLa cells, and how they were still living outside of her body thirty-seven years after her death. Her biology teacher said a few things about her and her cells, but nothing was about the person behind the cells, and Skloot was intrigued. All she was told about Henrietta was that Henrietta was a black woman and class was over for that day. Skloot thought that there had to be something more to the woman behind the cells, so she went to her professor’s office and asked him about it. ‘” I wish I could tell you,” he said, “but no one knows anything about her”’ (page 4) is what he said when she asked about her. So Skloot decided to look her up and see what she could find. But nothing said any more than she learned that day in biology class or mentioned anything of interest to her, so Skloot set out to find the story of what happened to Henrietta Lacks. Skloot was qualified to write this book because of the interest she had in knowing the story behind Henrietta Lacks.
Skloot searched everywhere, contacted Henrietta’s family, talked to doctors, and even went back to the town that Henrietta grew up in, desperate for more information about Henrietta so people could know the story behind the woman whose cells contributed to the medical research that helps us today by helping to make vaccines and cancer research. At first no one wanted anything to do with Skloot when she called them, asking about Henrietta. Soon she became friends with Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and got Deborah to talk about the person her mother was. Skloot went though being rejected, told to go away, and threatened to find the information she needed to write this book. She went through months and months of tracking people down and making phone calls. Skloot’s interest in finding out what happened to Henrietta was what drove her into finding out as much information as she could to let people know about why the cells were living and how the doctors came acrossed these miraculous cells.
Through her research, Skloot found out that Henrietta was born in Roanoke, Virginia on August 1, 1920 as Loretta Pleasant. She found out who her mother and her father...

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