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MARCH 2, 2011
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The On-the-Road at Starbucks Book Club will be reading this year's Big Read book at our April meeting.   Join us on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Starbucks in Oakwood to discuss Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a nonfiction tale of an amazing gift to advancement of medicine and its cost to the family of the donor.

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman from rural Virginia, succumbed to cervical cancer while undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Without her consent, doctors took cells from her tumor and subsequently developed the most successful cell line in medical history, now a multi-billion dollar industry.  Against this success, Rebecca Skloot unearths a darker story about the family Henrietta left behind.  Too poor to afford health care for diseases  their mother's cells helped to cure, and intimidated by big medicine's jargon and indifference, the Lacks family has been left with anger and dread over their mother's "immortality."

Explore the book with this Reading Group Guide.   You might also be interested in finding out more about the Lacks family, as well as reading a response to the book from John Hopkins.  In May 2010, HBO announced that Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball would develop a film project based on Ms. Skloot's book.

Reviews and Interviews with the Author:

More about the HeLa Cell

Henrietta Lacks Foundation

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