Teen Mindset Magazine had the honor of interviewing Thalina Houghton, who in this article shows that challenges can be overcome and passions can be discovered!
How are you a teen allergy advocate?
“I first became immersed in the allergy community around July 2019, following my most severe reaction a month prior. I initially reached out to allergy advocates such as Ruth Holroyd of ‘What Allergy?’ and asked about her allergy journey and how she’s lived with it. From the minute I started following other allergy journeys and the way others were advocating, I knew immediately this was the community for me. It started with writing guest blogs and featuring on various podcasts to founding ‘Allergies In Bold’ and I have loved every second of it!
I learnt really fast that this was my passion and not only is it (hopefully) helping others but I also found it helped my journey as well.
I’m looking forward to the future of ‘Allergies In Bold’ and I am grateful with the growth it’s had over such a short amount of time and to everyone who has supported me. The allergy community is such a strong, resilient one and I am proud to be a part of it.”
What is anaphylaxis and how are you speaking up for it?
“Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life threatening allergic reaction that causes symptoms such as feeling lightheaded or faint, breathing difficulties, wheezing, a fast heartbeat, clammy skin, confusion and anxiety, collapsing or losing consciousness.
Those Diagnosed with anaphylaxis will be provided with an adrenaline auto injector (AAI) brands such as EpiPen, Jext and Emerade here in the UK. It’s important to note, after using the AAI to call emergency services as the injector does not replace emergency medical treatment and it’s vital to carry two AAI as one may not be enough!
I founded ‘Allergies In Bold’ with the mission of ‘raising awareness for a condition that matters’. I like to incorporate various methods whether it’s blogging, giving talks or simply talking about allergies in a conversational way. If it helps someone else living with anaphylaxis, it’s worth doing!
Everyday I’m coming up with new ideas and I’m currently working on a project that will hopefully help more and of course, I added a sprinkle of ‘Thalina Creativity’ so expect the unexpected!”
How did you gain the confidence to become an advocate for teen allergies?
“It was something I felt came naturally. I don’t normally openly share my opinions or thoughts, especially online, but with anaphylaxis, I not only felt it was needed but the passion to raise awareness took over the ‘shy’ and ‘introverted’ personality I had. Gratefully, it’s developed me as a person and I haven’t looked back! Everytime I do something to raise awareness or take part in an allergy project, I learn something new about myself and do things I never thought I’d be doing! This in itself builds confidence but I think it applies to anyone or any situation, if you’re passionate about something, you’ll find a way.”
How are you proving that anyone can make a difference?
“I try and do everything I can. Nothing less. Admittedly, some of my ideas to raise the profile of anaphylaxis are wacky and unique but if at the end it gets more talking about the condition and shines more light on it, it’s worth pursuing! Hopefully through what I do, it can inspire other teenages especially,to get involved with events such as fundraising or simply talking about a matter that affects many and be that voice for others. I was hesitant before starting ‘Allergies In Bold’,whether I’d be taken seriously due to my age but it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Anyone has the potential to make a difference and I strongly believe that and anyone who disagrees just hasn’t found that passion yet, and that’s okay! Delve deep and find what sparks that fire inside of you and then think, how can I use this to help others and go from there! You’re never too early nor late.”
Thank you Thalina for showing that you are never too young to accomplish your dreams. In addition, thank you for giving us a glimpse into the realm of advocacy and for sharing your advice. You are truly remarkable and an inspiration for all youth!