On October 1, 2010, President Obama apologized to the Guatemalan President for the U.S. Public Health Service’s role in conducting the unethical Guatemala Syphilis Inoculation Study and it triggered repressed memories of my Cousin Beverly Kay Dampier’s untimely death in October 2008. Beverly's life was taken prematurely before celebrating her 40th birthday. She loved flowers and was showered with them at her funeral. In childhood, when Cousin Beverly played with me (Cousin Helen) she insisted on us making a pinky promise to always love and take care of each other no matter what!” Cousin Beverly had the hereditary family illness, but we were forbidden to talk about it in our youth because "What went on in the family stayed in the family." I think Cousin Beverly knew she had the illness, but we never talked about it. It didn't prevent us from talking to God about it and we always prayed for our family to be healed. Nine family members, including Cousin Beverly, from three generations passed away from the hereditary family illness, potentially linked to the egregious use of toxic heavy metals in the Public Health Service-conducted Rosenwald Fund Study (RFS), the precursor to the Tuskegee Study. For 12 years I've been diligently pursuing a presidential apology and investigation for the RFS, involving tens of thousands of Blacks in six southern states (MS, AL, GA, NC, TN, and VA), but to no avail. Tennessee deviated from other states and conducted the study on family units and when the Study allegedly ended, the Tennessee "family-unit" Study continued in a group of Western Tennessee counties. My family with the hereditary family illness is from Western Tennessee and lived on the Henning Farm, the same farm as Simon Alexander Haley. On October 1, 2023, my company, Talk Story, Incorporated, will launch the #FamilyLoveMatters Movement and host a global bouquet of 365 women (aka Flower Gurlz) at the 1st Annual Flower Gurlz Inaugural Gala in Newport News, VA from April 26-28, 2024 to honor Cousin Beverly on her 55th heavenly birthday (April 27th). In addition, the Gala is an effort to obtain justice and bring awareness to the RFS rooted in generational trauma in families. I’m launching this GoFundMe to generate funds to pay for the Flower Gurlz expenses to attend the Gala. Inflation has significantly impacted Gala accommodations (travel, hotel fees, rental cars, food, gas, etc.). Considering its impossible to tally all the expenditures, excess donations will go towards continuing the research in over 10 counties in six southern states. We're all Cousins and Cousin Beverly’s living was not in vain; a promise is a promise and #FamilyLoveMatters!
For additional info on the Gala, please go to the website (www.helennoel.com/Flower Gurlz Gala).