Lilian Garcia working to raise awareness of black mold allergy
Outside the ropes of a WWE ring, SmackDown’s ring announcer Lilian Garcia is now fighting a personal battle against a new kind of opponent.
“I have aligned myself with wanting to let people know and educate them about mold allergies,” Garcia told WWE.com of her personal crusade against the little-known ailment. “About 17 years ago, I lived in a house that we found out had mold in it. I had never had an allergy in my life, and when I was living in that house I started getting sick. I started getting nauseous, headaches, respiratory and sinus infections, and I didn’t know what was going on.”
It eventually got so bad that Garcia – who is getting ready to release her second album – couldn’t even sing. Through her New York-based allergist, Dr. Renata Frenkel, Garcia learned the catalyst of her woes was an allergy to black mold. The condition had gone undiagnosed for so long that, even to this day, Garcia’s body feels the brunt of her allergies.
“I had been exposed to so much mold that it affected my lungs and my body,” said Garcia. “So now, what’s happened is that any time I come into contact with any mold entity, my body starts creating histamines, thinking an invader is coming in.”
Though no official cause exists to combat the effects of a black mold allergy, Garcia is aligning herself with various companies who test for mold in homes (updates will be posted on her official site, liliangarcia.com). She believes it’s only a matter of time before the condition becomes mainstream, and she’s more than willing to be the one that gets it there.
“It’s just a few years ago that we heard of 'gluten-free'; there are just certain things that we’re finding out about. I know what happened to me living in that house and I know the effects of it. I think there are a lot of people that don’t know about it and don’t know the correlation between the two,” Garcia explained.
Garcia, by the way, is doing great now. She’s happy and healthy with her mold-free diet (no dairy, soy or vinegar). She’s set to drop her new single, “Ur Girl (’Til the End of the World),” on Valentine’s Day. She’s starting a new “style lounge” on her site where she’ll post pictures of her wardrobe and where she got it. And to top it off, she has already been contacted by fans who have been affected in a similar manner by the allergy, which Garcia takes as a sign that awareness is moving in the right direction.
“All of a sudden [people] are starting to see the dots connecting, and I think that’s why it’s important to speak about it. I don’t know why it hasn’t been brought up or why I’m one of the first to be talking about it, but it’s gotta start somewhere.”