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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Over the Hump Day

Well another St. Patricks day has came and went. Sorry for the short blog entry yesterday (and no it wasn't due to an affinity for green beer on the 17th of fact the only green we have seen over here is the green green and recycle...etc...even the Irish bars were kind of tame compared to the energy of Market Square....unless the 70 year old Swiss/Irish guy singing off-key karoake in front of a crowd of ten or so old enough to have helped Paddie himself chase the snakes out themselves)...but I digress...sorry for the short entry yesterday but it was an exciting and long day and to be honest when Sunny was able to leave the hospitaal for a few hours and eat lunch with Peter and I , and then rest here for a few hours, its torture to have to bring her back to the Twilight Zone and come back to this empty room. So I wasn't out galavanting through the green streets of Basel...or out buying "milk" or getting "gas" I crashed and then woke up and crashed the computer. Stupid Americaan...

Its Wednesday evening here at Hilton Basel...and the end of another glorious day(those of you that are down in the dumps for whatever reason today by the way try telling the next five people you talk to or see that ITS A GLORIUS DAY and you will either smile, they will smile, or you may get a funny foo-foo type of stare...but in any case it will brighten your day) as the temps went all the way up to 16 celcius....take that only hit 68 Fahrenheit today....and the sun was out and our Sunny came back here---the hospitaal portion of our European adventure over. She had several more scans done this morning down in the Twilight Zone, and I think its fair to say that the results were mixed. There definitely has been positive news in that nothing has grown (stabilized is how Dr. Doogie put it) but there hasn't been shrinkage like they had ultimately hoped for. She was not asked to come back in 2 to 3 months liked planned but will return again in August for 3rd treatment. We will monitor things back home with bloodwork, CT scan, eventually an Octriotide scan, and as a bonus prize potentially the opportunity to go to Iowa or Nebraska( all I know is its Big 10 or Big 12 country) to visit the states top carcinoid doctor. The kids will be excited , because we can maybe tie in the long awaited tour of baseball stadium's like St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Cincinnatti. When you are stuck cheering every year for the Pirates, any baseball will work to distract the kids. I know that she was hoping to explain the results better in Medical terms after she sits the boys down and talks to them.

Speaking of sports I understand that not only are the Penguins on a possible playoff role, but my Pitt Panthers( best 8 years of my life) are a number one seed in the madness of March. I hope they have a long run, not just for selfish reasons but with all of the pain Sunny will be going through when she gets back, it is real nice distraction/break from reality for the boys and I....just like the Steelers run to the Super Bowl when we got back in January. Watching EuroSports Live with extended coverage of some kind of game where they bounce a soft soccer ball, pass to teammates like football, bounce like basketball, hit like rugby, and throw the ball into a soccer like goal, indoors in a hockey rink where Germany was up 22-16 on Denmark I wonder if they have any clue to the therapeutic powers of group sports bandwagon jumping.

Speaking of the tele, Sunny has just finished taking another long shower to ease some of the pain in lower back and liver..and now is sitting behind me entranced with what Judge Judy's verdict will be. I should have taped this episode back in the states, gone down to the executive lounge, bet a few drug-selling Novartis schmucks a few francs and paid for dinner. However, even she couldn't sit through the back to back Ricki Lake and Sally Jesse Rapheal marathon...its no wonder they think Americans are stupid over here because on the tele is that....Paris Hilton's British Best Friend reality series, the head of AIG and our brilliant congressmen arguing over bonuses and suicides on three networks, the Simpson's in German....Nein Bart Nein...and Two and a Half Men in French....although I think Pierre may feel it is about two guys and a midget...

After we checked out around 11:30 this morning (we had to wait for Dr. Doogie to drop off the note giving Sunny permission to trip the security gates) we came back here and then she wanted to go right back out. She is amazing. After several disappointing attempts to find "cool" culture here (the doll museum was interesting , but stuffy, and I felt a bit out of place as everyone else had kids with them or wore dentures except for Sunny and I) I had finally scoped out the musuem of fine art which was hosting a Picasso exhibit , had Van Gogh, had Maltisse, and seemed to be the real deal. It was fantastic. Besides the aforementioned masters and all of their naked bosom, dangling genetelia, group hugs/orgies, there were paintings from the 15th century on and some of the most beautifully preserved nativity , stage of the passions, and Virgin and child art you can imagine. Sunny was a trooper as she went to each of the three floors(we went backwards against the flow of the floors unknowlingly....drawing stupid Americaan stares and extra special observation rom the museum's Barney Fife security team) and when she felt dizzy we would sit and rest. When we saw a bummy....we sit and rest and laugh about what our boys would have to comment on that painting. She made it through in about 2 hours, feeling a little dizzy at times but not wanting to stop at all.

We came back here to Hilton Basel and made a quick change of coats, I put my shorts back on , and we walked a half a block to a new place we stumbled over on the way to the musuem...the Steak House. We were drawn to it because the menu posted outside referred to a Philly Cheesesteak and other US OPTIONS. We were all about US OPTIONS at this point. In we went. Turns the menu had no English, but I know the ingredients in a Philly Cheesesteak, hoped they were universal, and was surprised when Sunny also ordered the same. The place actually had two TVS on, like some kind of pathetic attempt to be a sports pub, but ESPN, it was cross-country skiing in a city outside of Vienna where they brought snow into the city streets, like Detroit's or Cleveland's old Formula 1 races, and then had an urban ski competition...sorry....nice try klumpters but you are missing the point of sportstelevision altogether...The sandwiches were very good, they tasted like home, but the bottom of the bun was a bit soppy and we had to use knife and fork or risk having another one of those Stupid Americaan with cheese on his sweater" moment...

We made it back here around 4:30 and Sunny was definitely out of it(almost blondworthy Sharon) , a bit woozy, and tired. I made a few calls back home, let her rest for a couple of hours then dove into this. We managed to confirm that the boys will be able to go watch the Steelers-Plum hoop game Thursday night(thanks HOOPS JJ) and we confirmed that they hadn't locked Grandma out or tied her up(thanks boys). We are now one day closer to driving back through those beautiful tunnels, up past that wonderful S and T bank, and into that wonderful cracked, chipping driveway we call home. Can't wait.

Please continue to keep Sunny in your prayers as she is tired, has a fair amount of pain in her back and liver and that she will rest well tonight. We will continue to think about and pray for you back home and look forward to cheering on those mighty Panthers from my own lumpy couch, with the bad-breathed weight challenged dog and all on Sunday afternoon.