The day Laryssa’s mom informed her about her grandmother’s diagnosis, her world shook. However, her grandmother’s determination to fight lit a fire in her heart. Today, only 8 percent of pancreatic cancer patients live more than 5 years after diagnosis. Laryssa’s determination to become Miss America is driven by the knowledge that the title provides a greater voice, and with it, Laryssa plans to raise awareness, funds, and more importantly, advocate for research to create a diagnostic technique for this silent killer. Miss America is the job of a lifetime and she looks forward to spending a year giving back and making a difference in countless lives.

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