Camping wish comes true

For a year now, 6-year-old Connor Allbee's eyesight has deteriorated from good to legally blind.

A degenerative cellular disorder, Batten's disease, also affects his moods, prompting aggression sometimes. The diagnosis for Connor's future remains cloudy, and there is no known cure for Batten's.

In the meantime, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and local car dealer Michael Hohl are bringing a little light to Connor's darkened world.

On Saturday, Connor's wish for a travel trailer came true, giving his family of five an excuse to spend time in the wild, where Connor finds joy.

On Saturday, he was totally absorbed in every nook and cranny of the new 25-foot Fleetwood RV his family will be taking home. The new RV is complete with a bathroom, a requirement for Connor.

Father Derek Allbee said his son badly burned his feet during a camping trip about 18 months ago after going outside to go to the bathroom and he's wanted an indoor bathroom for camping trips ever since.

"He'll be sleeping in there tonight," Derek said. "We won't be able to get him out of there for awhile."

"He's a doll and people love him instantly," said his mother Christy Allbee of her son. "Almost all of his vision is gone. About 15 percent is left and it has been really tough on him."

Connor and his family hail from Reno.

The Reno-based Make-A-Wish Foundation bought the travel trailer at cost, a deal that Hohl gave them along with custom paint with Connor's name.

"The family loves to go camping," said Sherry Johnson, Make-A-Wish director of program services. "The hope and joy of planning their wish helps them get away from the disease for awhile."

Connor has a father, Derek, and two sisters, Kelsea, 14 and Katie, 12.

The foundation raises money in Northern Nevada to benefit local families. Children's wishes are usually related to travel, meeting someone special, getting something new or being something for a day.

Last year, a Carson City girl who aspires to be a marine biologist was given a trip to Sea World where she the spent time one-on-one time with some of the animal trainers.

Connor's parents hope to bring awareness to Batten's disease, which afflicts only a few hundred worldwide. Blindness is the first of many degenerative symptoms which progress over time.

To learn more about Connor, visit the family's Web site at

Allbee family Web site


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