Whitney Thorpe-Klinsky was crowned Miss Illinois last June, with breast cancer research as her platform, but the 23-year-old has been a long-time advocate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Her mother is a nine-year breast cancer survivor, which inspires Miss Illinois to wear her crown with pride.
"Watching my mom go through her struggles, I have to say, she was never less than poised," said Thorpe-Klinsky, "and so, knowing she has that strength going through that journey-- anytime I face a stumble in my path, I know that I can pick up and keep going because I know if she made it through that, I can make it through too."
Miss Illinois says although she will pass down the crown in July, she will continue to work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Miss Thorpe-Klinsky is a graduate of Wesleyan Illinois University and plans to attend medical school in the fall.
She is a lifelong resident of the Village of New Baden, Illinois, about 30 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.