Lauren Wasser, 29, didn’t know using a tampon would drastically change her life six years ago. The model, who’s been featured in Vogue and most recently Nordstrom, contracted toxic shock syndrome in 2012 , which tragically caused her to lose her right leg. Although it’s been a few years, Lauren has sadly not fully recovered.
She revealed in a new interview that due to the lingering effects of TSS, she will unfortunately lose her other leg. Lauren suffers daily and is always in excruciating pain, according to Instyle. “My left foot has an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes,” she said. In order to alleviate her pain, she will have her left leg removed. “In a few months, I’m inevitably going to have my other leg amputated. There’s nothing I can do about it,” Lauren said.
In light of her tragic story and new amputation, Lauren is hoping to bring awareness to the dangers of tampons and toxic shock syndrome.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Lauren was destined to be a model. Both of her parents were models, and she landed her first gig when she was only two-years-old. She went on to walk in a variety of fashion shows, and was admired for her athletic build and strikingly beautiful facial features. Her modeling career took an abrupt pause when Lauren innocently used a tampon. On Oct. 3, 2012, she fell incredibly ill while on her period. It started with a severe fever and led to a massive heart attack. Who knew tampons could be this dangerous? Lauren was then put on life support because gangrene consumed both of her legs. She had her right leg amputated below the knee, and her toe amputated on her left foot. When analyzing Lauren’s symptoms, the doctor asked if she was using a tampon, which led them to diagnose her with TSS.
Not letting her situation consume her, Lauren is determined to prevent other girls from experiencing her story. For many who aren’t familiar with the disease, TSSA is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain bacterial infections. Risk factors for the terrifying infection include: recent surgery, open wounds, and the use of superabsorbent tampons. Because most people are unaware of TSS and it’s effects,
Lauren is now pushing both legislation and the National Institutes of Health to help test tampons to determine if they are safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first case of toxic shock syndrome. A whopping 100,000 people are affected each year, and a woman named Robin Danielson died from TSS in 1988.
Lauren is advocating for a bill in Robin’s name, Robin Danielson Act, to be put in place which will require feminine hygiene product companies to disclose the materials and ingredients in their products. This, in the end, will help women become more aware of how harmful tampons can be.
Lauren has not allowed her disease to stop her career. She proves to be as resilient as ever by still modeling and walking in fashion shows.