1Amazing Woman Lisa Elifritz: Sharing the dangers of tampon related TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome)
May 15, 2015    0 Comments

This month’s amazing woman, Lisa Elifritz used grief as a springboard to launch a non-profit that reawakened the world to the dangers of tampon related TSS.

Lisa Elifritz

Lisa Elifritz lost her daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz, to tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome on June 13, 2010 (Amy’s story can be found here.

You ARE Loved became Lisa’s answer to the questions – how could this happen to Amy? How can I prevent it from happening to other girls?

Lisa learned that knowledge of TSS, awareness of its symptoms, and the steps one should take if symptoms develop are crucial as time is of the essence when TSS is suspected.

Lisa wanted a means for educating girls, teenagers, mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses, doctors...everyone about the risks and dangers that traditional tampons pose. And so, Lisa founded You-ARE-Loved.org  as a repository for TSS information, stories, resources, and support.

One doesn’t speak with Lisa very long before the four things she is most passionate about enter the conversation. Helping people – Civil War era crocks – poodles – her family.

Lisa has provided the means to educate us about tampon related TSS through You ARE Loved. But, to get to know the woman behind the non-profit, you need to spend a little time with her.

Lisa graciously permitted me to interview her recently. As you will see, our conversation took some unexpected turns and those twists revealed Lisa’s heart.

What's that special thing about you that makes you amazing? Why do you think you were nominated as an amazing woman?

I try to make a difference in the world. I try everyday to be the best person I can be and strive to leave a mark as someone who made positive changes that last forever.

What specifically do you do to move the needle in this world - what is the "Mission Statement" of YOU?

I try to meet someone new every day and send them home with a message of survival through tragedy. Everyone needs to learn for the future. Horrible things happen to people and they crawl under a rock forever. You can go through it and make the best of it, or you can go through it and let it take over your being. It's all in how you choose to process the change. Life is about choices.

If you were gifted with $1 million tomorrow with the stipulation that you had to spend it on someone or something other than yourself what would it be?

I'd gift it to young struggling mothers, students with a bright future, for things they need desperately, like tires for their cars, disconnected utilities, food and insurance with the stipulation that when they are grounded and able to pay it back, they give it to someone in need that's in the same situation as they once were.
I already give to young girls as often as needed.
We hang out down the street at a restaurant where we are regulars. Many of the servers there are working their way through school. They sometimes need things so desperately and I consider it as though I was giving to Amy. I help them if I can. I never let them pay me back. If they try I make sure they give it to another in need. My payback is to watch them flourish.
I'm not waiting for a million dollars to begin doing the good I’d like to do. If I had more I would do more.
We go to auctions all of the time. I buy nice toys when they go cheap and donate to homeless families.
If I see nice men’s suits I will buy them and give to homeless for an interview.
Even a few dollars can go a long way to give someone’s self-esteem the boost needed to change their life.

What's one thing you would like our readers to know about you?

I like to spend my time scouring the country for high end Civil War era stoneware. It's my passion. What I find that I can afford, I add to my collection. What I find that I can't afford I buy for the highest end collectors for their needs or their donations to museums.
The picture of me here shows a churn with civil war soldiers on it. It sold at auction moments after "Antiques and the Arts Weekly" took this photo.

What one thing would you like to leave with our readers?

Don't sweat the small stuff. If it isn't life changing it isn't worth worrying about!

So, based on what you just said - how do you know it's “the small stuff” when it's happening because sometimes “the small stuff” can feel very big.

 I guess until you have real tragedy in your life you don't understand it.

I asked Lisa if she would like to share any links and she immediately named You-ARE-Loved.org and her favorite Pinterest Board.

As the interview was winding down, I asked Lisa if there was anything else she would like to share. She paused and then she said:

There was a little server at the restaurant last week that was sick, but needed the money so bad. She kept saying how nauseated she was.

I asked her if she was on her period and she said, “Yes.”

I came home and got her some 100% cotton tampons, took them back to her and told her to change. I told her that in a few hours she would be better.

Ray and I told her Amy’s story after I got the cotton ones for her.

She thanked me yesterday - said I made a believer out of her.

It worked.

I would like to get a cup for her. She can't afford one.

She said she'd like to try one.

There have been a few girls over the years I'd love to have given one to.

This little girl is such a pretty thing. She is one of the students working her way through school.


Amy Rae Elifritz, a 20 year old college student, died from tampon related TSS. She didn’t know to use only 100% cotton tampons. And, she wasn’t aware of menstrual cups.

Lisa invites you to drop by You-ARE-Loved.org and read the signs and symptoms of TSS. Learn how to reduce your risk of developing tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome. Follow You ARE Loved on Twitter and LIKE it on Facebook

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