A 24-year-old beauty whose perfect body has propelled her into the Miss America pageant will have both breasts removed to avoid the fate of her mom, who died of breast cancer.
Allyn Rose, who will represent Washington, D.C., in the competition in January, tells People the double mastectomy is "scary" but she's putting her life ahead of her looks:
... my mom 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, who also represented Maryland in the 2011 Miss USA competition, says she's determined to beat the disease that robbed her of her mother:
My mom had her right breast removed at 27, but at 47 or 48, it came back in her left breast. 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.
Rose plans to have the surgery next summer, unless she wins the title of Miss America, in which case she'll postpone it until the end of her reign in January 2014.