PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Molly May is no stranger to breast cancer.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 8 years old,” said May. “She went through chemo and radiation for three years until she was considered cure and now, she’s a 16-year survivor.”
When May was only 19 years old, she had to go through a double mastectomy herself, making her the youngest in Mississippi to have one.
"It was very scary, but a wonderful decision because I'm still here,” said May. “That really is the silver lining to all of this. I wouldn't change the decision for anything in the world."
May says it was a hard and challenging time in her life, but is thankful she was able to do it will her mother’s help.
"One of the most wonderful things in the bonding moment between my mom and I during all of this was it was the first time I did cry in front of her,” said May. “It was this really scary, but really wonderful thing that we got to share."
May has spent most of her life competing in pageants. She's spent the several years competing in the Miss Mississippi Organization, which she says helped her find her voice.
"It gave me this platform, this wonderful steppingstone for me to really understand just how valuable my voice can be,” said May. “Just how loud my voice can be when I’m speaking to other people about something that I am so passionate about."
Since her diagnosis, May has made it her mission to informed and educate young adults across the country about being vigilant when it comes to breast cancer.
"You don't have to have a family history of breast cancer to run in your family for you to get it,” said May. “This is something that you must be really vigilant about your health. Be vigilant about yourself. Take care of yourself. Know your family history. Check your breast whether you're a man or a woman."
May has started her own nonprofit organization called Caps that Care.
"It's a hat donation organization where I gather any type of head covering,” said May. “Whether it be a bandana, a hat, a sunhat, a baseball cap, anything in the world. I donate them to cancer treatment facilities and children's hospitals across the entire United States.
So far, the organization has gathered over 3,300 head coverings.