Women’s wrestling legend and WOW Superhero Jungle Grrrl (Erica Porter) has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.
The cancer, which has progressed so far as to be incurable, has now spread to her lungs and bones.
“I was having shortness of breath. I was having a cough that was lingering,” Porter told Greg McQuade of CBS 6 News (WTVR) in Richmond, Virginia.
McQuade conducted an interview with Porter as part of his series “I Have a Story”, which profiles inspiring people from Central Virginia.
Despite her diagnosis, on Oct. 1, Erica launched the Endorphasm Foundation, named after the gym she founded in 2013. Porter told McQuade her goal was to shift focus from herself, and to help those still in need.
“The mission of the gym is to strip away the B.S. and get you closer to your soul,” Porter said.
“It might not change the outcome of how many years, but wouldn’t you want those years, no matter what they are, to be amazing. I know I do. There are always going to be circumstances beyond our control, but how you react to those circumstances is well within our control.”
The Endorphasm Foundation offers free fitness classes to cancer patients, and lives by their mission to empower “individuals to sharpen their mind and body focus, reach beyond their perceived limitations and accomplish their goals by combining the healing power of community and fitness.” Also stating, “Self-empowerment promoted through exercise generates a renewed hope for the future.”
EF carries out their mission through several initiatives, including incorporating movement and fitness to help build self-esteem, recover from addiction, and improve cancer treatment plans. EF also built a first responder initiative to identify and address acute household crises. Learn more about the foundation here.
Porter made her professional wrestling debut in 2000 in a match for WOW versus Terri Gold. She stayed with WOW for the first few years of her career, then branching off to work for Ultimate Pro Wrestling, CRUSH, and Impact Zone Wrestling. Porter eventually returned to WOW, and has stayed with the promotion since. Porter was a major player in the WOW title scene for the better part of their last television season, competing with Tessa Blanchard and The Beast.
During her time as a professional wrestler, both as Jungle Grrrl and as herself, Porter competed against some of the best in the business, more than simply holding her own; she blazed trails as a true champion. She faced competitors like Ivory, Amber O’Neal, Santana Garrett, Cheerleader Melissa, and Sara Del Rey.
Porter was the WOW Champion for an astounding 1,300 days, becoming the strong base the company needed to carry their message into the future. She even reigned as IZW Women’s Champion for 601 days—a record-breaking title run for the company. More than a wrestler, Porter is a wife, mother, businesswoman, and author.
On a personal note: I had the chance to interview Erica for a previous website, as part of a series to build hype for WOW’s television debut, in 2019. Erica was a kind, funny, strong, and inspiring woman from the moment she said “hello”. I knew that if veterans like Erica existed within women’s wrestling, the industry would be a force to reckon with.
At Bell To Belles, our hearts break for Erica. We’ll forever be grateful for the path she paved for women. Thanks to Jungle Grrrl, we not only “learned the laws of the jungle”, we learned to overcome the jungle, itself.
Please watch the entire interview with Erica Porter, below.
(Please credit Greg McQuade from CBS 6 News for the source interview and quote transcription.)