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The Harper-Lee Foundation

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Harper-Lee Fanthorpe died after swallowing a button battery from a remote control. Harper-Lee was a happy, funny toddler who loved to sing and dance. On that fateful Sunday morning, she had watched her favourite Peppa Pig on television, then rubbed her eyes to show she was tired. Stacy lay her on the bed and left for work – just up the road. Two hours later, daughter Jamie rang to say something was terribly wrong. She had called an ambulance and Stacy rushed home to see Harper-Lee covered in blood. Initially, the doctors thought it was a burst tonsil, but the internal injuries pointed to the fact that she had swallowed a button battery that had burnt through her oesophagus.

At 10.17 that evening, Harper-Lee passed away in Children’s Intensive Care at the Royal Stoke Hospital. Stacy recalls Harper-Lee’s last words “Mummy I need you”, and Stacey said she loved her and would see her soon. Stacy is an incredibly brave mother who wants to ensure that what she and her family are going through does not happen to other families. It is her way of ensuring Harper-Lee’s legacy as well as helping her focus on a positive purpose as she is grieving.

The Harper-Lee Foundation was set up to carry forward and expand the work of the Harper-Lee’s Law Campaign, providing a lasting legacy following the death of Harper-Lee Fanthorpe. We will work with government, manufacturers, retailers, educators, charities and health professionals to reduce the risk to children of accidents and death from button battery ingestion. 

In the weeks that followed the toddler’s tragic death, Stacy, her incredibly brave mother started the Harper-Lee’s Law Campaign. Stacy wanted to make sure that what she and her family have gone through did not happen to other families. She has the support of the local newspaper, the Sentinel, and the local Member-of Parliament. Jo Gideon MP initiated a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament on the Safety of Button Batteries, and began discussing the issue with a wide variety of organisations.

To continue expanding the work which has gone on in recent months, the Trustees agreed we needed to form a charity.

The Harper-Lee Foundation is a registered charity, which enables us to expand on the work of the campaign and raise funds to provide a single point of contact for agencies working on this agenda, to commission research, support educational campaigns and provide advice and support for families. 

The aims are to: 

·       raise awareness of this tragic death and the issue of the danger of button batteries

·       establish a minimum safety standard for products containing button batteries.

·       require the safe packaging of button batteries 

·       work with retailers to ensure safe display

·       improve clinical data collection 

·       to work collaboratively with other organisations to deliver a gold standard for button battery safety

Button batteries are sold in many items aimed at young children – fast-food outlet free kids’ toys, books with sounds, birthday cards, lollipops with a children’s toy attached. However, Harper-Lee swallowed a button battery from an LED light remote control, and so many appliances that lie around the house may contain these potentially lethal batteries. Most parents and carers are not aware of the dangers, and the risk is growing as more and more products appear on the market with more powerful batteries. 

Please show your support for this campaign. 

Harper-Lee's death was a tragedy. It must not happen to another child.

Organizer and beneficiary

The Harper-Lee Foundation
The Harper-Lee Foundation

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