Miss D.C., Allyn Rose, decides to undergo double mastectomy

While other beauty queens are preparing for the Miss America stage in January, Miss D.C., Allyn Rose, is making a major decision in her personal life. After competing in the pageant, she’s getting a double mastectomy.

“I want to be around for my children,” says Rose.

Rose’s mother died from breast cancer when Allyn was just 16 years old. Her mother was first diagnosed at 27, had one breast removed and then had children. But the cancer returned.

“I said to myself, ‘If my mom can do this, I can do this,’” she says.

Rose, 24, tested positive as a carrier for a rare disease, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, which has struck many members of her mother’s family.

“One of those things where I said I can either be incredibly vigilant for the rest of my life or I can make this other decision, something that’s incredibly drastic, but at the same time it’s something that can help prolong my life.”

Doctors have praised Rose’s willingness to speak out about her personal struggle, using it as a platform for preventative health care.

“Cancer in young women is very hard to diagnose, so if you have any family history, possible genetic predisposition, get evaluated,” says Dr. Marc Boisvert, the medical director for the Center for Breast Health at MedStar.

Some doctors told Rose she didn’t need to have surgery soon, but it came down to one reason for her:

“I’d rather do something that helps me be here for my children, be able to live a long and healthy life,” she says.