After a courageous 10 year fight battling Carcinoid Cancer, Sunny Carney, of Plum, passed peacefully on Saturday, November 3. She was married to her devoted husband, Mark; and was a loving mother to Austen, Logan and Nolan; daughter of Patricia Jennings and the late James J. Jennings; daughter-in-law of Dale and Dottie Carney; sister of Judy Phillips (Ray Jr.), Lynn Pesta (Teddy), Michael Jennings (Vicki Lynn), James Jennings (Sue), Joseph Jennings (Elizabeth), Sheila Fortes (Jim); sister-in-law of Craig Carney (Julia). She is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, and was a true friend and inspiration to many.
In addition to being an inspiration to family and friends Sunny inspired carcinoid cancer patients across the globe through her blog, and then her book "The Sunny Side of Cancer. She spoke at numerous cancer events locally sharing stories of her journey which led her from Basel, Switzerland to all of the top Carcinoid Cancer specialists here in the states. She was an advocate for better diagnosis of the disease and for insurance coverage of treatments. She fought with grace and dignity, never letting the pain inside challenge her faith or diminish her love for life.
Memorials may be made to "Carney Family Fund", c/o S&T Bank, 2190 Hulton Road, Verona, PA 15147.
Friends received Monday 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday 3-8 p.m. at Unity Community Church, 215 Unity Center Road, Plum, PA 15239.
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Unity Community Church with Rev. Frank Deluce officiating. Arrangements entrusted to CHARLES W. TRENZ FUNERAL HOME, INC.
VIEW GUEST BOOK Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After over a decade of suffering from Carcinoid Cancer, Sunny Jennings Carney has decided to fight back. She has currently undergone two proven treatments in Basel, Switzerland and is planning to return for two more. She is also planning on going to Houston, Texas for a six month period to undergo experimental treatments that look promising but are not FDA approved. She has exhausted all the FDA approved treatments here in the United States and will not accept that this is all there is for her. She has dedicated her fight to help others understand this rare cancer and to find successful treatments in the United States. Her strong faith in God and will to never quit has turned a 6 month life expectancy to over two years presently.

Below is an entry that was written by Sunny's husband Mark when she had her third bout. To become updated on her journey please enjoy her posts.

Please check back for updates and event information.

Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund
C/o S & T Bank
2190 Hulton Road
Verona, PA 15147

Sunny's husband Mark tells their story...

A mother of three boys, a daughter, the baby sister to a large family, an aunt, a godmother to several, a trusted friend, an outreach volunteer, a business owner and my wife. Sunny Carney lives up to her name every time someone speaks to her; she is beautiful both in and out. She has been my biggest motivator, my rock and my inspiration in tough times, my biggest fan in good times, and most importantly my best friend. Told 14 years ago that having children may not be part of our future because of ovarian cancer, she kept the faith, and is a wonderful mother to our three sons- Austen, Logan, and Nolan. She is always ensuring that they know the Lord, love of life, kindness to others, hard work, and occasionally when to "shape up".

Her boundless energy, healthy lifestyle and positive attitude are infectious. She has served as president of our children’s PTA, organized committees that benefit those who are less fortunate in the community and led drives for those who have been caught up in unfortunate situations. She has done so much for others, usually without letting anyone ever know, I could not begin to list them. Her strong faith in God and modest upbringing has given her a sense of giving that only she can explain. When she successfully started her own photography business, she also started a non-profit division photographing family portraits for area families fighting cancer. Her friends say she is amazing and she simply shakes her head and wonders what all of the fuss is about.

Her mother, sisters, brothers and large extended family will tell you she is the one you can count on to lend an ear when needed and never judge. She was raised by her loving mother and father who was the warden of the Allegheny County Jail and actually spent most of her childhood in the residence connected to the jail. At a young age she witnessed more of life’s tragedies and obstacles through her neighbors, the prisoners, than most of us can imagine.

Although all of the aforementioned is remarkable it is not what makes her truly special. Sunny is a two time cancer survivor and now is currently fighting for a third time. After beating ovarian carcinoid cancer and undergoing serious surgery for carcinoid tumors in her right lung just three years ago, the carcinoid tumors returned in her lymph nodes, liver and bones. The size and proliferation throughout the liver of these tumors mandates immediate chemotherapy in four treatments over the next few months as well as monthly octreotide treatments. These painful treatments will hopefully stop the growth but are not a cure. There are numerous tumors in her spine, her skull, her hip, her leg, and her shoulder...all in the bones and she will wait on potential radiation to fight those.

What my wife has is Carcinoid Cancer Syndrome, an endocrine disease which is rare and spreads from organ to organ. As of right now the only known treatment for remission is administered by renowned clinics in Europe. However the treatment is not covered by our insurance. Our doctors have encouraged us to start raising money and matching grants could follow. Her lead oncologist strongly believes that Sunny would be a prime candidate to be a voice to get the message out regarding carcinoid cancer syndrome, bring this treatment to the United States and encourage approval from the FDA. Without this treatment, the tumors most likely will continue to metastasize in other organs and her fight will be ongoing. Sunny has set up The Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund to support her treatments. She believes that once she beats this cancer she can make a difference to others also suffering from Carcinoid Cancer.

Mark A. Carney

Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund
C/o S & T Bank
2190 Hulton Road
Verona, PA 15147

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The magic question!

I have been getting a ton of emails wonder how I am feeling. I guess I can say I am feeling pretty good and that is why I have not wanted to talk about it. I don't want to jinx anything. I've been cautious at what I have been doing, especially alone. I know that the time is coming soon when the treatment takes effect and I am waiting like a child waits for Christmas. I am not sure I want to unwrap this gift though. After the last treatment I felt okay the first week, about what I feel now, and then it all hit me. The nausea and pain began like the 4th of July fireworks. Yesterday I looked back at my blogs in January, some I did not publish because they where just to personal, to figure out when the hell started. It was really hard to relive that month when reading the old blogs. But it looked like it was about 2 weeks after the treatment that I started spiralling down to horrid abyss. Although I am not feeling perfect now I am preparing for that to come.

I've been catching up on all my work and photography projects for clients. I also started back up my nonprofit division again and scheduled one family for portraits already.....for the last week in April because the agony should be gone by then. So if anyone knows of any families that are going through the cancer journey please refer them my way. They can go to my photo website,, and email me through there. I am hoping to expanded this large enough that my photography colleagues will pitch in and volunteer with me. I would love to grow this division and be able to give cancer families the gift of memories. Cancer changes the lives of so many. When struck with this disease, no matter what kind or what stage, you start to have two lives. The before cancer life and the cancer life. Some are even blessed with the after or cured cancer life. I can not tell you how many times my boys will remember an event from the past and then end the story with, "that was before the cancer". Now they even go as far as saying, "that was the lung cancer time" or "remember before the first time you were sick when we......". I am sure those who have gone through this journey and are reading this are shaking their heads with complete understanding of what I am talking about. I want to record the happy times of the cancer journey. When suffering from cancer you go through so many down times and those are not what a cancer patient or their families want to remember. However, when going through this trail you have many good and fun times. You and your family live your life endlessly and that is what I want to document for others. I want them to be able to look back at the happy times that cancer gives. Hey, another "GOOD IN CANCER". My list is growing. So to give a family the gift of portraits from the times of their journey is the least I can do. After all, I have been blessed with so much support I need to give in some way. So please refer my way.

Once again I have completely got off track. I tend to do that when I become passionate about something. I will blame my signs of Adult ADD on the cancer. Whenever I don't like something I do or some bad habit I have I just blame it on the cancer. I think Mark is starting to catch on because he was not happy with the new scratch on the only car we have now. THE GOOD IN CANCER again......note blame faults or mistakes on the cancer. Back to what I am trying to do before the hell hits, I am mostly trying to spend all the time I can doing fun things with Mark and the boys. It's been hard because I am not 100%, but that is the good in knowing what is to come. The way I feel now will be better then the way I will feel next week at this time. So I am trying to take advantage of this time with them. Of course the boys are not completely happy with Mom bothering them all the time. But they will get over that when I am in bed all week next week. I will say I even got beat in a game of scrabble by Austen and he was not "to cool to play with me". Of course he knew he could kick my butt because my spelling is shameful. I'll blame that fault on the cancer too.

To answer the big email question, "I am hanging and fighting". Please keep praying for me. Keep your prays strong next week when the treatment makes it to my bones. I know that the more pain I have the better the treatment is working. At least that's the story I am sticking to.