Toxic Shock Syndrome amputee Lauren Wasser on how she drew hope from the experience

Model had both legs amputated because of the condition

Lauren Wasser, a model who lost both of her legs due to toxic shock syndrome (TSS), has reflected on the lasting impact of the near-death experience.

Wasser suffered from TSS in 2012, when she was 24. TSS is caused by an excess of staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the body and can quickly become life threatening if not treated.

Wasser suffered from organ failure as a result of TSS and both of her legs had to be amputated. The model has since become known as the “Girl with the Golden Legs” after she was given two prosthetic golden legs.

Wasser, who has been honoured with the “Model of the Year” award at Harper Bazaar’s Women of The Year Awards 2022, opened up about her time in hospital in a new interview for the magazine’s December/January issue.

“I was in a hospital for three months, losing every part of myself physically, emotionally – I was just in this place of horror – and thinking that was it,” Wasser said.

Wasser has since dedicated much of her efforts to raising awareness of TSS and advocating for better transparency in women’s menstrual products.

Reflecting on how her life has changed in the last decade, Wasser said she strived to turn her experience “into something beautiful and impactful”.

“I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and that I survived that time – that darkness. I had to endure so much pain and suffering… I’m proud that I didn’t give up and that I didn’t let it stop me from living my life,” Wasser said.

“A tampon nearly killed me. If I hadn’t gone through the darkness, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Wasser also offered up her advice on learning to “accept” herself, in the hope it might resonate with others.

“The one thing I’ve learnt in this journey is to own what you may not like about yourself. Because if you accept it and you’re proud of it, nobody can say sh** about it,” Wasser said.

“Just be you. That’s the most beautiful thing, because there’s only one of you.”

The December/January issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK is on sale from 11 November.