Haunted forest fundraiser Friday for 11-year-old with rare disease

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010


CARRSVILLE—Madison Arnot earns straight A’s with her schoolwork.

The 11-year-old Walters girl plays with dolls and “kids around” with her two older brothers when she’s not studying. Her favorite color is pink.

But that’s where the similarities to other girls end. Arnot was diagnosed in February 2009 with a rare genetic disorder, which is almost certain to cause colon cancer. She’s had to undergo costly medical procedures.

That’s why the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department has taken this little girl “under its wing.”

From 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 30, the sheriff’s department will sponsor “Fright Night Forest” at Isle of Wight Fairgrounds in Windsor. It’s a quarter-mile hike through a haunted forest, and “it is scary,” said Madison’s mother, Monica, who participated last year when nearly $10,000 was raised.

There will be vendors, and the first 200 visitors, will receive free reflective Trick-or-Treat bags. Admission is a $5 donation .

On Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Southampton County Fairgrounds, there will be a cornhole tournament fundraiser and on Friday, Dec. 10, there will be a golf tournament at the Suffolk Golf Course.

As for Madison, doctors removed her colon to get rid of polyps that could be cancerous. There were complications during her first operation to remove the colon, causing her to eventually have a feeding tube attached to her chest.

Despite a few positive results from tests on the polyps, there is hope to gradually reverse the small intestines to do the job of both the small and large intestines.

“At present, Madison feels well, and we’re just taking things one day at a time,” her mother said.

Madison, who was nicknamed “our little rock star” by the nurses at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, is the youngest patient the hospital has ever had with this disease.

But she takes things in stride, and in fact, looks forward to visits by her tutor, who stops by for two hours a day. Madison doesn’t go out much, just to visit her doctor, so she enjoys company.

“Since she cannot be left alone, my husband, James, and I alternate our times staying with her,” said Monica Arnot said.

Although she is a trauma nurse, Monica Arnot works two days a week as a hair stylist when her husband can stay with their daughter.

Madison has already had 13 operations, with another five or six to go.

“Still, she never complains, never asks why,” her mother said. “Aside from her health, of course, our biggest worry is the astronomical medical bills. We have insurance, which pays 80 percent, but we have to pay the other 20 percent, and the costs of her colostomy supplies, medications for her IVs and the ‘artificial’ feeding supplies are more than we can handle. “

Madison, who will be resting in a vehicle provided by the sheriff’s department during Saturday’s fundraiser, has made about 300 thank-you cards to hand out to friends and visitors.

“We can never thank our friends and neighbors enough for all they’ve done,” Monica Arnot said. “It has been a tremendous help.