Katie’s Choice Book Club to discuss ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ Sept. 19, 22

Online Staff Report

The Katie’s Choice Book Club selection for September is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Hosted by Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries and Katie’s Cup coffeebar, the book discussion will be at Katie’s Cup at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 19. The discussion will be offered again at 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 22, at the coffeebar, 502 Seventh St., Rockford.

The Book Club is open to all interested people, free of charge. No pre-registration is required.

In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore created the first human cell line with a tissue sample taken from a young black woman with cervical cancer, without her knowledge. Henrietta’s cells became the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine, and were used to advance the techniques of cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization. Millions of dollars have been made on the discoveries her cell line has made possible. Yet, Henrietta profited not one penny from her contribution to science and the field of medicine.

From the author, we learn: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African-Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the winner of several awards, including the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Excellence in Science Writing, the 2011 Audie Award for Best Non-Fiction Audiobook, and a Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award.

For more about Katie’s Choice Book Club, contact Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries at either (815) 962-4279 or RALMmail@ aol.com.

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