The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. 

Model who lost both legs to toxic shock syndrome reveals she is training for NYC marathon

Amputating her second leg was 'the best decision I could have made'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 31 May 2019 21:31 BST
Model who lost both her legs to Toxic Shock Syndrome announces she is training for NYC marathon

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A model who lost both her legs from complications related to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) has revealed that she is now training for the New York City marathon.

Lauren Wasser, 31, lost her right leg in 2012 shortly after contracting TSS, a potentially fatal condition, from tampon use.

After years of struggling with lasting health complications and pain, the Los Angeles model decided to have her left leg amputated in 2018 — a choice she says allowed her to become more active.

Appearing on the Today show, Wasser recalled being in “so much pain” and immobile after doctors told her they had salvaged her left leg.

According to Wasser, despite experiencing severe pain on the badly damaged leg, she fought for six years to keep the limb — until she realised that she “just wanted to get back to being active”.

“That was the best decision I could have made,” the model said. “And I did it for myself because I wanted a better life for myself.”

Since losing both her legs, Wasser has reinvented herself as an athlete, and will participate in the NYC marathon on 3 November.

To train for the marathon, Wasser, who wears gold prosthetic legs she refers to as her “trophies,” was fitted with gold running blades.

The Adidas model has also continued her work as spokesperson for sufferers of TSS and an advocate for educating the public about its symptoms, telling the hosts: “I’m just lucky to be alive. And I feel like my purpose now is to be the face and voice of this.”

The 31-year-old has used her platform to educate others of the potential risks associated with tampon use.

In addition to discussing her own experience, Wasser has also campaigned on behalf of the Robin Danielson Act, which, if passed, would support research into the possible health risks associated with feminine products.

Despite being introduced 10 times, the bill has not come to a vote.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

TSS is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections, according to the Mayo Clinic, often resulting from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria. Although it is often associated with tampon use, it can affect anyone, including men and children.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in