A DC native’s path from fighting cancer to walking the runway

Erica Campbell survived stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at just 27, but that dark moment eventually steered her toward a now-successful modeling career.

March 28, 2013 is a day etched in the mind of Erica Campbell.

It was the day that the then-27 year old was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. What began as a persistent cough, turned out to be a disease that would forever change the course of her life.

Initially, Campbell said, “I was angry. I was sad. I was disappointed in God. I said, ‘Why me?'”

She said her faith got her through the challenges of battling cancer, including surgeries, biopsies, blood transfusions and six months of chemotherapy.

Since her last chemotherapy treatment in September 2013, Campbell said, “I have become a face, a voice for cancer communities all across the country.”

She is an ambassador with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and The Lymphoma Research Foundation.

Campbell’s battle with cancer also sparked an interest in becoming a plus size model. She said she’s always loved being in front of the camera, and eventually she did her first runway show for cancer awareness in 2014.

After the show, Campbell thought to herself, “I can do this. I’m loving this.” From there she did her homework, met some photographers and got into some modeling groups.

Campbell’s been busy ever since.

She’s walked the runway for D.C. Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and a host of other events. She also did her first cover of Luxe Magazine in January 2020.

“It’s been a blessing to use my modeling platform to help women and young girls who are facing adversities in their life and it doesn’t have to be cancer,” Campbell said. “To let them know that you too can overcome this. You’re resilient.”

The native Washingtonian is also the author of the book, “I Survived: From Cancer to the Runway.” She’s the founder of a Maryland based movement, “Erica Survived.” The group supports newly diagnosed patients.

Campbell called it, “a safe place where people can have a listening ear.”

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. You can read more of that coverage by clicking here.

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant is an Anchor and Reporter for WTOP. Over the past 20 years, Stephanie has worked in several markets, including Baltimore, Washington, Houston and Charleston, holding positions ranging from newscaster to morning show co-host.

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