BALTIMORE (WJZ) — On Saturday, dozens honored Henrietta Lacks in Baltimore County’s Turner Station community, where she lived, in a tribute to a monumental figure in medical history.
The Baltimore County Executive proclaimed that the first Saturday of every August will now be ‘Henrietta Lacks Day.’ Her family, couldn’t be more thrilled.
Her legacy can’t be matched.
“Henrietta changed the world,” says Alfred Lacks-Carter, CEO, President of Henrietta Lacks House of Healing, and Henrietta’s grandson.
Henrietta Lacks had countless contributions to our country and world.
“It’s been a long time in recognition and this is now a legacy,” says Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
It was during Henrietta’s treatment at Johns Hopkins back in 1951, that doctors discovered her cells were a type of immortal cell line. They eventually were called HeLa cells that would later go onto developing vaccines for many diseases, but using her cells were done without the knowledge or permission from Henrietta or her family.
“If not for Henrietta Lacks, we wouldn’t have these wonderful decades for scientific achievement,” says Kamenetz.
Henrietta Lacks is now getting her own day every August, and Main Street in her Turner Station community where she lived, now dons her name.
Lacks was already known to many, but her story exploded onto the scene with a movie on her life starring Oprah Winfrey.
“The movie brought awareness to the family, to medical field, to Johns Hopkins,” says Lacks-Carter.
The Lacks family is thrilled she’s getting a proper dedication, which has been a priority for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
“I think for this particular community in Turner Station, it’s a matter of pride and giving just recognition,” says Kamenentz.
It’s a legacy that’s being preserved and honored.
“She’ll be in history forever,” says Lacks-Carter.
Members of Baltimore County Council and state house delegation were also part of the event.
Lacks was honored with a total of 15 street signs in the historic Turner Station.