One woman's hard decision to remove both of her breasts at 26 turned into a life-long mission to educate, empower, and put women back in control of their healthcare choices.
"When I was a young woman, cancer was always a part of the vocabulary. It was part of the vocabulary because my mother, my grandmother, and my great aunt had all been diagnosed with cancer by the time I was even born. Unfortunately, when I was 16, I lost my mom to breast cancer."
After losing three of the closest women in her life to breast cancer at such a young age, she knew that there was a strong likelihood that she too might face the same fate.
"To go through something like that at such a young age, I think it really makes you realize that you no longer have the luxury of your youth, and particularly being someone with such a strong family history of breast cancer, I knew that I needed to be proactive in my life."
So ten years later, she made the brave decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy – removing both breasts in an effort to prevent breast cancer.
"I was fresh off of competing at Miss USA and Miss America, and women in the beauty industry just don't talk about these sort of things. If they have to undergo it, they kind of brush it under the rug. It's something they do in secret."
"It's hard to be bold and open about any really personal choices in your life, but for me, I thought, "I can't be the only person going through this, and why wouldn't I share my story?"
Following her procedure, she had many women reach out to her with questions, and she realized there was no one comprehensive place where women could go and learn about what their options were. She couldn't stand by and continue to listen to these women who were being denied the ability to feel whole again. So she said, "You know what? If it's not out there, I'm going to build it!"
Thus, the Previvor Foundation was born. The first women's health platform designed to educate women on their options for genetic testing, mastectomy, and breast reconstruction. This foundation puts women back in the driver's seat for their healthcare choices.
"So when women are facing a mastectomy or a cancer diagnosis, they're able to advocate for themselves with their doctor, and the Previvor helps them do that."
Allyn is a strong, driven, ambitious woman who took control of her life and now uses it to pave the way for women's healthcare. She has helped countless women just by opening up and sharing her story.
Check out the first #RaisingTheBra Podcast Episode 1 - The new SHEFIT podcast where we don't hold anything back; we tell it like it is and go all-in.