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They covered her internal organs like strings of pearls.

Henrietta was laid to rest in Clover, in an unmarked grave near her mother. George Otto Gey was a cell biologist working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Gey could be thought of as an early modern biohacker.

The two had spent years searching for a human immortal cell line — cells which could be reproduced infinitely.

If a cell line like this could be found it would become a standard in medical research.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.

In early 1951, a woman named Henrietta Lacks visited the “colored ward” at Johns Hopkins hospital for a painful lump she found on her cervix. He took a tissue sample, which confirmed Henrietta’s worst fears: She had cancer.

She and David had their first child in 1935 and married a few years later.

The couple moved to Turner Station, Maryland so David could work for the booming Bethlehem Steel company in Sparrows Crossing.

By August 1951 the tumors had spread throughout her abdomen.

The continued radiation treatments burned her inside and out, while she suffered indescribable pain.

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