The what of who?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks!
One of the best books I've read in ages, and I haven't even finished it yet.
Here's an excerpt from the author's website:
"Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave."
If I do manage to get pregnant through IVF, I will be personally indebted to Henrietta. I probably already am, in ways I don't even know about-- and you probably are, too.
The book is a moving and fascinating lesson in history and in science. (And I'm not one to find science remotely interesting.)
Get it from your local bookseller. Check it out of the library. Download it on your Kindle.
Just read this book.
I promise, you don't want to miss this one.