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Mayor declares October 4 'Henrietta Lacks Day'

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 14:08:01-04

Mayor Catherine Pugh signed a bill commemorating October 4 as Henrietta Lacks Day in Baltimore.
Lacks was an African American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, a bedrock for modern genetic research.

Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge during treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital during the early 1950s. She died of cervical cancer in 1951.

Neither she, nor her family were financially compensated for her contribution to biomedical research.

Lacks' story was popularized by the book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot and an HBO movie of the same name, produced by Oprah Winfrey. 

Pugh signed the bill on August 23, 2017. City Council woman Sharon Sneed sponsored the bill.