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Legislation project aims to honor legacy of county’s Henrietta Lacks

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The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) in partnership with the Henrietta Lacks family and the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group, the Office of the Governor of Virginia, Senator William Stanley (Virginia Senatorial District 20), Delegate James Edmunds (Virginia House District 60) and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center this week announced legislation for a new project aimed at honoring the legacy of native daughter Henrietta Lacks beginning with the formation of the Henrietta Lacks Commission.

The county IDA made the announcement in a press statement released Friday afternoon.

Lacks is an important historical figure in the world of cancer treatment and biomedical research. She was raised, married and started her family in Halifax County, and she is buried in a cemetery in the Lacks Town area of the county in Clover.

The story of how her unique cell line became one of the most important biomedical research advancements of the 20th century gained world-wide attention through the New York Times Best Selling Book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, released in 2010.

An HBO movie of the same name was produced by and starred Oprah Winfrey.

Stanley has pre-filed a bill, Senate Bill No. 171, for consideration by the 2018 Virginia Senate, with a companion House Bill (filing pending) sponsored by Edmunds, establishing the Henrietta Lacks Commission to properly honor Henrietta Lacks and bring the Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center to fruition.

The Henrietta Lacks Commission, as proposed, will operate under a three-year charge to bring together the stakeholders, their commitments and resources toward the mission, financing, management, operations and successful sustainability of the Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center.

Halifax IDA will issue more detailed information about the Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center Project this week, according to the release.

From the Gazette-Virginian

Tagged in: issues legislation