Brave Connor's battle ends

CONNER Barnett - the boy whose struggle against illness touched the hearts of many people in East Anglia - has died.His mother, Sandra, said that Conner's life had come to an end early on Wednesday morning after a four year battle against a mystery brain disorder which had left him blind, unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair.

CONNER Barnett - the boy whose struggle against illness touched the hearts of many people in East Anglia - has died.

His mother, Sandra, said that Conner's life had come to an end early on Wednesday morning after a four year battle against a mystery brain disorder which had left him blind, unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair.

"His heart just stopped. The paramedics were called but they could not save him," she said.

Conner, who was ten years old and lived at Redgrave, near Diss, was thought to have had the brain disorder at birth but it was not discovered until he reached school age.


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Acute myeloid leukaemia was also diagnosed although the disease was dormant. Doctors were unable to carry out a bone marrow transplant for fear of aggravating the brain condition.

This was investigated by consultants at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London but the conclusion was that the condition was incurable.

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Mrs Barnett contacted doctors in Holland and the United States in a vain attempt to find a suitable form of treatment.

She also appealed for help in making Conner's life more bearable and readers of the EADT were among many who responded.

Thousands of pounds were raised, in the early days to provide "safe" garden toys, finance a trip to Lapland to meet Father Christmas and buy a special wheelchair.

Later a charity called Make a Wish created a sensory bedroom at his home, involving fibre-optic curtains and bubble-tube lamps.

On two occasions, in the hope of obtaining a miracle cure, Mrs Barnett has accompanied her son to France to the Lourdes shrine visited by many terminally ill people.

Three years ago Mrs Barnett, who gave round-the-clock care to Conner, was told that her son's health would deteriorate and that he was likely to die.

He survived a bout of double pneumonia 12 months ago but, in the period up to his death, his brain condition and general health had been stable.

Conner had been in and out of the Quidenham Children's Hospice, near Diss, for more than two years and had a recent spell there.

However, he died at home with his mother by his side. She said yesterday: "He was a very brave boy."

Mrs Barnett, whose mother died only four months ago, said she wanted to thank the hospice staff, whose help and support had been "brilliant", and also the many people who had made donations and taken part in fund-raising events to improve her son's quality of life.

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