On April 24, I introduced legislation to make October 4th Henrietta Lacks Day in honor of her death on October 4th, 1951.
Ms. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman whose cervical cancer cells were taken without her consent or her family’s knowledge or consent, while being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital here in Baltimore. Further, her family has not received compensation for her genetic material. Since then, her cells known as HeLA, have been used to further our understanding and have been able to produce treatments and cures for diseases such as polio, cancer and HIV/AIDS.
We must remember the debt that we owe to Ms. Henrietta Lacks, and we must remember that her cells, that have furthered medical progress, were taken without her knowledge or consent.