State commission continues work to honor legacy of Henrietta Lacks

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:39 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - While Roanoke moves forward with plans to recognize Henrietta Lacks in her hometown, a state commission is continuing efforts to honor her legacy in southside where she grew up.

The Henrietta Lacks Commission was established by the General Assembly with the goal of creating a cancer treatment and research center, but the pandemic and other issues slowed its progress.

During a virtual meeting Friday afternoon, Senator Bill Stanley (R-20) said he believes the General Assembly would be receptive, if the group can develop tangible plans for the project. And he encouraged commission members to continue their work.

“And I would rather give every ounce of effort than not,” Stanley told other commission members. “And I think when we do that, and we put the great minds that I see at this meeting together, great things can happen. I think this is the beginning of what we will see in our future for this commission to be our finest hour.”

Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, and raised in Halifax County.

Cancer cells that were taken without her permission have fueled major advances in medical research since her death in 1951.