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    June 20, 2011

    HeLa 4 Life Bike-a-Thon HeLa Ryders Thank Rebecca Skloot

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    On May 14, 2011, children of Roanoke, VA (Henrietta Lacks’s hometown) celebrated “Henrietta Lacks Day” and participated in a HeLa 4 Life Bike-a-Thon fundraiser at the Forest Park Baptist Church to benefit the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Read the full story here.

    The HeLa Ryders sent these sweet thank-you notes. We post them here, with our thanks for everything the Ryders have done for the Henrietta Lacks Foundation.




    June 19, 2011

    Best of Queens Library Summer Reading Selects The Immortal Life

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    The Queens Gazette reports that The Immortal Life was chosen for the Best of Queens Library Summer Reading program.

    You’ve probably heard a lot of hype about this book, and it’s all true. An uneducated black woman dies young and poor of cervical cancer, but her cells are kept alive and studied by scientists. Her cells lead to countless medical breakthroughs, but the Lacks family knows nothing about it. O, the Oprah Magazine, selected is as one of their Top Ten Books of 200 and called it a “multilayered narrative of race, class, and family.” The story was used for an episode of Law and Order and is being developed for an HBO special.

    Learn about other community reads and FYE programs that are reading The Immortal Life.


    June 18, 2011

    Sacramento Bee Recommends The Immortal Life in Summer Reading Roundup

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    The Sacramento Bee included The Immortal Life in its Summer Reading Roundup
    , recommending it as one of the best non-fiction reads for summer.


    June 17, 2011

    Columbia, MO Selects The Immortal Life for ‘One Read’ Program

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    “Although her grave is unmarked, and she was called by the wrong name for years, [Henrietta Lacks’s] story could bring readers together in Columbia this summer,” reports the Columbia Missourian.

    [photo credit: Columbia Missourian. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on display for Columbia’s One Read program at the MU Bookstore.]

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot has taken the win as the book of choice for the 10th annual One Read program, coordinated by Daniel Boone Regional Library. Sally Abromovich, public services librarian, called the nonfiction novel a “fascinating read” that touches on current bioethical issues.

    Learn about other community reads and FYE programs that are reading The Immortal Life.


    June 16, 2011

    Connecticut College Student Praises The Immortal Life

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    “If there ever was a piece of scholarship that encapsulated the interdisciplinary ideals and methods of American Studies,” writes Connecticut College student Claire Cafritz, “Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks would be it.”

    The poignant story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cervical cells created the first immortal cell line, provides a revealing account of the ways in which prevailing issues of race and class have shaped, and continue to influence, the various institutions that govern American society. Skloot’s efforts to reveal the human story behind one of the most significant discoveries in the history of medicine provides invaluable insight into many of the issues and disciplines that are integral to understanding American studies.

    Learn about other community reads and FYE programs that are reading The Immortal Life.


    June 15, 2011

    Students Respond to The Immortal Life in AAC&U Magazine

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    “Unlike the stereotypical reading assignment that too often catalyzes students to bond over mutual dislike,” writes Connecticut College student Jesse Neikrie in the Association of American Colleges and Universities magazine, “[The Immortal Life] appealed to people with diverse interests, including literature, science, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, and social justice.”

    As Morgane Amat, a French-born first-year physics major and potential art and math double minor, explained, ‘I liked the biographical components combined with the scientific knowledge.’ Opinions about the book were as diverse as the first-year class, who used it as a tool to get to know each other. Inside and outside of classes as well as in student-and faculty-run discussions, which took place almost every other week during the first semester, students gathered to discuss the topics and dilemmas the book posed.
     
    It has been more than six months since I first heard the name Henrietta Lacks. The person behind the name has now taken shape in my mind. Henrietta was a woman, a mother, a wife, and a cancer patient–in short, a human being who is too often remembered, if at all, as nothing more than an acronym. She is the source of the precious HeLa cells that defined modern medicine, an unsung hero who did not volunteer for the job. And now she is also at the heart of the introduction to my first year in college. Through Rebecca Skloot’s book, Henrietta Lacks has set a very high standard for what I hope my college experience will be like. So far, I have not been disappointed. My classmates and I will never forget the life, death and incredibly busy afterlife of Henrietta Lacks and her unique cells.

    Learn about other community reads and FYE programs that are reading The Immortal Life.


    June 14, 2011

    Fan of The Immortal Life Donates Funds to Low-Income School

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    “I’m so thrilled,” says Rebecca Skloot, “I just found out that Diana Kimball, a fan of The Immortal Life, recently donated funds in my honor via DonorsChoose.org for a low income school to get gel electrophoresis equipment for its science classroom. I just got a wonderful packet of thank you letters from the students – what a perfect and wonderful gift. Thank you, Diana, and everyone else who gave.”

    For more information on how you can make a difference, visit DonorsChoose.org.


    June 8, 2011

    “First Nugget of the [HeLa] Story” Published in Rolling Stone in 1976

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    In March 1976, Rolling Stone published “The Double-Edged Helix,” an article by Michael Rogers which “unknowingly helped lay the foundation for the captivating current bestseller.”

    “I always thought it was wonderful that Rolling Stone had the first nugget of the story,” Rebecca Skloot says.

    “Skloot’s reporting turns the tale into a breathtaking work of narrative nonfiction, important and heartbreaking,” says Rolling Stone in the May 26, 2011 issue.


    May 27, 2011

    “Henrietta Lacks Day” Celebrated with HeLa 4 Life Bike-a-Thon in Roanoke

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    On May 14, 2011, children of Roanoke, VA (Henrietta Lacks’s hometown) celebrated “Henrietta Lacks Day” and participated in a HeLa 4 Life Bike-a-Thon fundraiser at the Forest Park Baptist Church to benefit the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

    “The kids were extremely excited and ready to ride!” said Marion Ware, the event organizer. The Ryders received “Thank You, HeLa” buttons from the Henrietta Lacks Foundation (see photo below, top right). Henrietta’s son, David “Sonny” Lacks Jr and several of Henrietta’s grandchildren and great grandchildren made a trip down from Baltimore to cheer the Ryders on (see photo below bottom right).

    “The ‘HeLa Ryders’ presented Henrietta Lacks’s great-granddaughters with a framed picture of the Henrietta Lacks birthplace sign we made,” said Mrs. Marion. “The great-granddaughters were delighted and also said a few words, along with other members of the Lacks family. It truly was a beautiful event!”

    Roanoke Council Member Anita James Price presented the Lacks family with an official proclamation, and members of the local media covered the event, including WDBJ7 TV.

    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation
    The Foundation has already awarded several grants, including grants covering tuition and book expenses for eight descendants of Henrietta Lacks, and health care expenses and emergency needs of several members of her immediate family. The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without personally benefiting from those contributions, particularly those used in research without their knowledge or consent.

    For more on the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, visit HenriettaLacksFoundation.org.


    May 26, 2011

    Rebecca Skloot Talks to inReads about Keeping Her Book Alive

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    “The intrigue of this book is that it’s a science book and it’s as much a page-turner as The Da Vinci Code, says Liz Funk in her inReads Q&A with Rebecca Skloot. “It’s a thick tome but it’s also feasible to read in three reading binges because the writing is so skillful and the story so compelling.”

    inReads: You went from being a respectably-published freelance writer and an adjunct college professor to a titan of hardcover nonfiction. What has this been like for you?

    Rebecca Skloot: I did so much publicity on my own. I knew that because this story is so incredible, if I could get it out in front of people, people would have the same reaction to the story as I did when I first heard about it. I left my house for my self-organized book tour and I was on the road for four months straight and that was before there was any outside press approaching me. So I left my house January 29th 2010 and since then, I’ve been home a total of two or three months but not in order. I’ve been on the road and that’s been my life. I do events every day. It’s part of keeping the book alive.

    inReads is the first website and online community dedicated to “social readia.” Its content focuses on books, technology, and culture and how the three intersect and influence one another.


    Named by more than 60 critics as one of the best books of 2010

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    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.