Chapter 16
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Payback, Finally

Rebecca Skloot’s foundation benefits the descendents of Henrietta Lacks

February 4, 2011 Thanks to enormous pre-publication buzz, former Memphis writer Rebecca Skloot had a bestseller on her hands within a day of launching The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her nonfiction book about the woman behind the first immortal cell line in medical history. But unlike the pharmaceutical companies who owe many of their most successful drugs to research involving HeLa cells, Skloot was determined from the beginning to make sure that the descendants of Henrietta Lacks would benefit from her own windfall. Today The New York Times highlights Skloots efforts on behalf of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which she established last year:

“The foundation—which is still in the process of applying for tax-exempt status from the I.R.S.— is paying for a high-tech hearing aid for Mrs. Lacks’s youngest son, Zakariyya; truck repairs for her middle son, Sonny; new teeth for her granddaughter Kimberly; braces for her great-granddaughter Aiyana Rodgers; and, yes, tuition, books and fees for five of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Read the full article here. Read more news stories and reviews about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks here.