In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African-American woman and mother of five, was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for an unusually aggressive form of cervical cancer. As was routine at the time, the cells from her biopsy were used in research without her consent. Henrietta died less than a year after her diagnosis, but her cells became the first “immortal” line of human cells — unlike other cells that died off in the laboratory environment, these survived and kept on reproducing.
Yet it wasn’t until 1973 that Henrietta’s family learned about the cells, leaving them with unanswered questions and a struggle to understand how part of their mother lived on even though she had died years before.
Read the full, original story here: Family remembers Lacks’ legacy