Allyn Rose is a Washington, D.C. representative in the upcoming Miss USA pageant, a roller skating enthusiast, a model, a paralegal — and now she is going to be the recipient of a double mastectomy — all at the young age of 24.The surgery is a preventative measure after Rose learned she is a carrier of the same rare chromosomal disease that her mother died of when the beauty queen was just 16-years-old.
“I had to become my own mentor. I had to go pick out my prom dress by myself. I had to go to my high school graduation without my mum,” Rose tells People magazine of her life without her parent. “She didn’t see me go off to college or go on my first date or drive a car for the first time.”
And while Rose says her mother was “incredible,” she doesn’t want the same fate.
So, after January’s Miss USA competition is complete, Rose will undergo the invasive surgery.
“The idea that I could wake up one day and not have the same body that I did the day before is very scary,” Rose, a self-proclaimed former tomboy, told the magazine. “But I also realise my mum was diagnosed at 27. That’s three years away from me. I’m not going to let my fear of losing this part of my femininity stop me from living.”
Rose explains that the preventative surgery is something almost necessary for her to survive the potential disease diagnosis: “It manifests in male children, but there have been studies that women who are the carriers of it have almost a 75 per cent likely chance of contracting breast cancer. It’s a very strange change in our genetic code. Almost all of the women in my family have passed away from it.”
“My mum had her right breast removed at 27, but at 47 or 48, it came back in her left breast,” Rose continued. “It was already stage three. She could have had that other breast removed, but I’m sure there was a part of her that thought she didn’t want to give up this other part of herself.”
She adds, “My dad said he begged her for years and years to get it removed, but she said no. It’s ultimately the thing that killed her.”
Why speak out about her personal struggle? Rose, who idolizes famous breast cancer battlers Robin Roberts and Giuliana Rancic, says “Title holders across the country get an opportunity to speak to their generation and have something they can advocate … To win the pageant would truly have my mother’s dreams for me come to fruition.”
Rose adds, “Being in the industry and competing in the most iconic swimsuit competition in the world, I thought to myself, ‘If I were to win and have this surgery a year from now, would I be a different Miss America because I lost my breast?’ No.”
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