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Haverhill woman, 20, dies in accidental fall while on vacation in Cancún

“Leah brought light to every setting, sharing her passion for learning, nursing, and patient care with others.”

Leah "Lee" Pearse. Driscoll Funeral Home
Leah “Lee” Pearse. – Driscoll Funeral Home & Cremation Service

A Haverhill woman died last week in Cancún, Mexico, after she fell while trying to enter her locked Airbnb rental through a third-floor balcony, her family said in an obituary

Following a “great beach day, amazing dinner, and fantastic dancing,” 20-year-old Leah “Lee” Pearse returned to the Airbnb and found that the keys had been locked inside, according to the obituary. 

While attempting to reach the balcony, “tragically she slipped, fell, and died instantly,” her family said.

A 2020 graduate from the Classical Academy at Haverhill High School, Pearse worked at Massachusetts General Hospital as a certified nursing assistant and was pursuing a master’s in nursing at Simmons University. 


“So many people who have reached out to us have expressed that just a hug from Leah gave so much love and comfort,” her family said. “Leah needed an outlet for her love and desire to help others, so her greatest goal in life was to become the best nurse in the world.” 

In a statement provided to Boston.com, MGH described Pearse as “vibrant” and said she worked on a transplant unit. 

“Her positive energy, creativity and thoughtfulness won the hearts of MGH’s patients and staff,” the hospital said. “Our community will come together in the coming days to honor Leah’s memory.”

Pearse’s family recalled her “magnetic” personality and tendency to bring out the best in those around her. 

“People felt they knew her after just the first interaction, and often they loved her immediately for the ease her presence brought to every room she entered,” the family recalled.

Helen Bellenoit, Pearse’s faculty adviser at school, shared a similar sentiment in a statement obtained by The Boston Globe

“Leah brought light to every setting, sharing her passion for learning, nursing, and patient care with others,” Bellenoit said. “She will be greatly missed by the entire nursing community.”


Pearse is survived by father Reggie Pearse, mother Amy Goldfarb, sister Anna Pearse, grandmother Judy Pearse, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. 

In lieu of flowers, Pearse’s family has set up an American Nurses Foundation fund in her memory, raising money that will, in part, support programs for nurses’ mental health and education.


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