Mary Maxwell, a 24-year-old woman in Portland, Maine, dropped 165 pounds in less than four years after several of her family members died from obesity-related illnesses.
"My mother, father, grandparents, and my aunts all were morbidly obese and I was heading in the same direction," Maxwell told Metro News.
Her obese father died of cancer before she was born, her overweight mom passed away from a heart attack when she was two, and her aunt died at age 26 from a heart attack related to obesity.
Her adopted father died when she was 12 years old.
According to Maxwell, food became her "best friend and also my worst enemy."
She struggled with her weight and went on numerous diets, but by the time she was 19 years old, Maxwell weighed 315 pounds.
Maxwell recalled being "heavily bullied" as a teen by grown-ups.
"Adults would gossip about me, ‘forget’ to invite me to work gatherings and I even noticed it in clothing stores," she said. "I would walk in and magically all of the sales associates would disappear."
Things changed when Maxwell met her boyfriend Josh Harper, and decided she wanted a future with him.
Maxwell had gastric bypass surgery right before she turned 21 years old and went on to lose more than half her body weight.
"It has in no way been an easy journey for me," she explains. "Over the first 8 months after my surgery, I had multiple complications and had 2 major stomach surgeries."
Today, Maxwell weighs 150 pounds, but still struggles with a lot of excess skin from her dramatic weight loss.
She has started a GoFundMe page where people can contribute to her future surgery to remove the extra skin.
Maxwell writes on the page: "The skin is not only a continuing and painful reminder of who I use to be, it is actually physically painful. I go through baby powder faster than an actual baby. I get so much chafing and irritation to my skin that it actually makes my cry sometimes."
"The extra weight on my back and stomach causes extreme back pain. When I exercise I have to wear extra small spandex shorts and a top so my skin doesn't bounce up and down and cause me pain. This surgery would mean more to me than anything. It would help me become the woman I was always meant to be. Getting rid of the skin would not only help me physically but mentally."