Sign In

News Story

Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. ET: Lacks family holding special event. Register now!

Featured speakers will be her great-granddaughter and ACS CAN's Keysha Brooks-Coley.

In honor of World Cancer Day, the family of Henrietta Lacks will be hosting a virtual event on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the recently enacted Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act and how Henrietta's legacy is driving access to clinical trials and medical innovations for all.

The World Cancer Day: Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research for All event will feature Veronica Robinson, Henrietta Lacks' great-granddaughter, and Keysha Brooks-Coley, vice president, Federal Advocacy and Strategic Alliances, ACS CAN.

The event is open to all staff and the public. Register here.

The event is part of the HELA100 CELLebrate Henrietta Lacks Centennial Conversations, which gathers experts and special guests on the first of every month to advance the goal of celebrating Henrietta Lacks - one conversation at a time.  Centennial Conversations was developed as a component of HELA100: Henrietta Lacks Centennial CELLebration, a year-long series of events and initiatives the Lacks family is leading to mark the 100th birthday of Henrietta. It aims to preserve her legacy, while promoting health equity and social justice.

Keysha, pictured to the right, will discuss the Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act, signed into law in January 2021. The law directs the federal government to study policies that impact diverse participation in federally sponsored cancer clinical trials and recommend policy changes that would make it easier for patients from diverse backgrounds to enroll in clinical trials. 

The legislation is named after Henrietta Lacks (pictured above), a Black woman who died from cervical cancer in 1951, at age 31. Her cells were taken without her knowledge or consent during her treatment at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Those cells, nicknamed "HeLa" cells, from the first two letters of her first and last name, have been used to develop some of modern medicine’s most important breakthroughs, including the development of the polio vaccine and treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease. Read more about Henrietta here.

Keysha will discuss the role policy can play in eliminating cancer and health inequities, in addition to her own role as the head federal lobbyist for ACS CAN and leader of the organization’s federal relations team.

Passage of the Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act was a legislative priority for ACS CAN, and an important part of ACS CAN’s work to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. 

Learn more about ACS CAN’s advocacy work to advance health equity at

back to top