Our journey to self-love is always changing. And while we strive for total body acceptance, what happens when your body is ill? It’s no longer about the lumps and bumps the world sees as flaws… self-love truly takes on a new meaning.
For Erica Campbell, life changed the day she was diagnosed with blood cancer.
Facing such a serious illness at a young age is scary, but what we are here to share is not just about her journey, but her willingness to help others through this incredible time in her life.
As we celebrate “Love Your Body’ month at PMM today we celebrate Erica for her resilience to face an insurmountable obstacle with grace.
Body positivity takes on an entirely different meaning when you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Can you tell us about your diagnosis and how you felt?
WOW, this is a very touchy memory for me. After being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma (Blood Cancer) on March 28, 2013, at the tender age of 27, I felt numb and very scared. The only thing that I knew about cancer back then, was that it could be deadly. So the moment my doctor came to my hospital bedside after having an intense biospy surgery just a few hours before to tell me and my family this life–changing news was like a horrible nightmare.
My road to recovery was terrifying because I didn’t know what each day would bring. I endured many chemotherapy treatments, several medications, surgeries. A staph infection called MRSA, blood clots, anxiety and depression were just a few obstacles along my journey to survival. There were many ups and downs where I cried some days and smiled brightly other days. But overall, I didn’t give up.
Throughout the surgeries and countless treatments, what helped you to stay positive and focused on your well being?
My amazing faith in God, knowing that He was there to cover me throughout my entire journey, kept those worry-filled days to a minimum. Also, to go through this type of trying times made me often feel alone and broken, so it was a great feeling to have my amazing support system right by my side. My family and close friends offered humbling encouragement and love, which kept my mind from thinking negatively as I fought to survive.
As a cancer awareness advocate, what type of information do you offer?
As a cancer advocate, I try to provide the best encouragement from one survivor to another. I encourage other fighters to have hope and courage along their journey by trusting that they too can overcome their battle against cancer.
No one wants to ever feel alone during a difficult time in their lives so it’s always important to have someone to talk to about what you’re experiencing. There are many organizations that I was able to connect with for support and I give those same resources to newly diagnosed patients to use.
I always want to give the best support I can as a survivor to someone else diagnosed with cancer, so being a good listening board and offering a comforting place to ask questions and share how they feel during that time, is a part of my job as an advocate.
Through my Dzire2Survive support movement and as a peer-to-peer volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I aim to provide the best support I can give.
What’s next for you and what words of support can you offer someone going through a diagnosis similar to yours?
I am currently putting together a campaign awareness movement called “Feel Beautiful, Look Beautiful”, which is a movement that will encourage young girls and women affected by cancer to see that they are beautiful and bold in every way. It will give them HOPE and the COURAGE to see their beauty throughout their cancer journey and life after cancer. No one would ever guess by looking at me that I battle with insecurities because of my facial pigmentation, discoloration and some of the scars left behind from cancer, but I do. Through this impactful movement, I want to see women love themselves no matter what their flaws are and this too will help me in the areas where I fall short with some of my own insecurities as well.
I also would like to continue using my modeling platform to encourage other women and young girls to do what they love in life even through the toughest battles that may come and to always live every moment like it’s their best moment.
An affirmation that I said to myself one day 6 years ago and still stand by today is: “Never give up on your fight and continue to SURVIVE with your beautiful smile and a Dzire2Survive.”
Do you have any websites you can offer for families, support, or information?