For those without mothers

I was going to post a cute little picture of The Boy, write a few words, and call it another Mother's Day. But after reading a chapter of this book...
I remembered a few things that my pastor had said in church today.

She reminded us Mother's Day is not all that happy for everyone, most obviously, for those whose mothers have died. Those words came to mind as I was reading about Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cervical cancer cells became the first ever to survive and be replicated in a laboratory. Yet she nor her family knew or consented for her cells to be used for research. She died at age 31, leaving five children who have never seen a dime of compensation from the multi-billion-dollar industry founded on her cervical cancer cells.

Without the HeLa cells, as they're known, most scientific advances would never have happened: the polio vaccine, gene mapping, treatments for AIDS and other viruses, and fertility treatments. Think about that: A woman who died of an aggressive cervical cancer made it possible for other women to have children.

Yet most people -- including the scientists who use these cells today -- don't even know who these cells are named for. Be a little more curious than those people. Ask your local library for a copy, and learn a little about a mother who was all but forgotten.
Posted on May 9, 2010 and filed under "deep thoughts".