“Your Mom...” I’ll never forget the feeling of having a stranger come and tell me that all of my hopes and my prayers were in vain. My mother, the woman I knew my entire life as a “breast cancer survivor,” had lost her life to a second bout with the disease. I didn’t cry... I couldn’t do anything but look out the window and think about all of the moments in the my life that she would miss. She’d never see me get my drivers license, go to prom, graduate from college, get married or have children.
All of those special moments that a mother yearns to share with her child would never come to fruition. My heart ached for her. My heart ached for myself. I continued to stare out the window... feeling powerless and alone. But it was in that very moment that I said to myself – “I’m not going to give up and cancer is not going to win.” I made a silent promise to my mother: to make use of every day that she didn’t have.
My name is Allyn Rose and I am a Previvor. You might be asking, what is a Previvor? A Previvor is an individual who chooses to take the necessary steps to “survive a predisposition” to cancer. After losing my mother, grandmother and great aunt to breast cancer, I knew that there was a strong likelihood that I may face the same fate. So, at age 26, I underwent a prophylactic double mastectomy – removing both of my breasts in an effort to prevent breast cancer. There were times that I questioned my decision, but I always remembered the promise that I made to my mother.
It was my responsibility to do everything in my power to educate women about their healthcare choices - - so that no 16 year old girl had to know what it was like to spend the rest of their life without their mom. No mother should have to leave her most precious job of raising her children unfinished.
I spent years thinking about what I could do to help. The world seemed so full of “pink,” full of “awareness,” full of “rallies and races and rah-rah!” But the sad pattern that I saw emerging was that women were not being informed of their options. They were not being taught how to stop breast cancer before it even began.
What’s worse is that when women did make that brave choice to have a mastectomy, whether as a preventative measure, or because of a cancer diagnosis, they were being denied access to skilled physicians - being bullied into surgeries that weren’t right for their bodies - being made to feel that beating cancer “was a privilege” and told they were being greedy for wanting to look normal again after surgery. I couldn’t stand by and continue to listen to these women who were being denied the ability to feel whole again.
This is where The Previvor was born – a women’s health platform designed to educate women on their options for genetic testing, mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The Previvor puts women back in the driver’s seat for their healthcare choices. In honor of Breast Cancer ACTION Month, The Previvor is proud to be partnering with SHEFIT for their round up campaign – a brand that supports women, both literally and figuratively, through all chapters of their lives. We are truly stronger together and The Previvor welcomes SHEFIT as part of “Our Story.”