A short, Black, beautiful, but obscure woman
Rebecca Skloot, as a teenager, first learned about HeLa cells and its source, Henrietta Lacks, in high school. Having missed Biology class in the first year of high school, she had to take a freshman course in Biology at the community college. During one of the classes, the professor in charge, Donald Defler, alluded to HeLa cells to explain cellular reproduction. Defler was aware that HeLa cells came from a Black woman named Henrietta Lacks. Other than that, he did not know anymore, neither cared to find out.
Defler explained during that class on cellular reproduction that several medical discoveries and innovations are a product of research performed on HeLa cells. Hearing this intrigued Skloot and prompted her investigation into the life and times of Henrietta Lacks. After high school, Skloot proceeded to earn a college degree in Biology, in the process of which she ubiquitously encountered HeLa cells. Skloot didn’t miss out on any opportunity to learn more about Henrietta. It all seemed to Skloot like Henrietta’s story was a chasm that needed to be filled. She was finding it difficult coming to terms with the world, not knowing a woman whose cells have brought so much medical innovation to humanity.
It is interesting how much of an impact a seemingly unimportant individual could have. This summary will help you understand how priceless human life can be.