The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Part 1

What did you think about the reading?

To start, I honestly don’t like reading non-fiction books. The only time I actually read them is if I am assigned to it by my teachers. But after I started to read this book, I became deeply interested of what was happening to Henrietta Lacks cells. I believe that the author did a really great job in writing this book, because of how it was presented and how it can easily catch your attention. I honestly cannot wait for what is going to happen in the next part.

What did you learn?

What I learned in this part was the life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was born in 1920, and was the eight of ten children. She was born in a poor family and married David Lacks, her cousin. Shortly after she had her fifth child, Henrietta discovered a large tumor inside her cervix, and went to the doctor immediately. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer on January 29, 1951. Doctors kept trying to treat her, but after a good amount of attempts, she eventually had a painful death on October 4, 1951. But before she had died, Henrietta’s doctor took her cancer cells without any of the family members knowing and had no consent to take them. Her doctor had given them George Grey, who conducted a series of tests to see if he could succeed in growing the first immortal human cells. But soon after a couple of tests with Henrietta’s cells, he found out that they could not die and finally had achieved his goal. About one year later, these cells now known as “HeLa Cells” (Which came from the first two letters of her first and last name), started to be distributed all around the world.

What questions do you still have?

There were quite a few unanswered questions in Part 1 of the book, like what is going to become of these cells? Did the Lacks family receive any money or compensation for Henrietta’s cells? Did any of her cells got passed down to later generation? Does unethical research still happen today? And finally the most important question: What will happen next?


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