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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tackling Tuesday

First of all, let me lead off by apologizing for the lack of updated blogs since Friday. We were actually on a weekend long vacation deep in the Canadian woods and had no access to phones or internet. OK, so those of you who know Sunny real well realize that there is no way with or without cancer she would ever go deep into the Canadian woods. She is all about Carpe Diem as long as it doesn't involve sleeping bags, tents, and bugspray.

The real reason for the lapse in communication is it has been a really long couple of days. If you recall the blogs from the week or so after the return from Basel last time, you will remember that it was about a week later that she had excruciating pain and discomfort which unfortunately lasted about 8 or 9 days. When people asked me "How's Sunny doing" my answer was it was like being with her during labor for 24 hours a day for a week straight. I think everyone understood. Well the same type of pain kicked in again over this past weekend and here it is Tuesday morning and we hope and pray that it won't last the rest of the week. Besides just the physical nature of the pain this week has also tested her ability to stay positive. I think part of what makes her so special is that she has an uncanny knack for finding the good in things or people and to never let her situation get her down. Just like a boxer after going a strong, hard eight or nine rounds but without a knockout of his opponent may feel tired , discouraged, or worse yet, may question if he has what it takes to finish the bout...just like that boxer needs his cornerman to pump him out, needs his cutman to take care of the physical pains, and needs the crowd for encouragement when the bell rings announcing its time to stand up, get back out there and do it all again we can help her.

She will get a new type of pain injection on Thursday which is supposed to be a better option than what she has been taking, I am going to continue to do what I do which is to try to make her see the humor in the world around her, and how blessed she really is. What you all need to do is to be her crowd. Pray for her, call her just to catch up and say hello, email her a positive note or scripture, let her know that the fight is not over, and reenforce that it is certainly a fight worth fighting.

She is an amazing woman who has touched me in more ways than even I can recall. I know that when she talks about how after a year of this she is tired...just drained of fighting, that it is not a permanent change to her personality. It is the natural reaction of someone who loves life so much will experience as she goes through the ups and downs (but mostly ups for her) of the most important fight...the fight for her life. She isn't going to be down long, you and I all know that, buts lets help pick her up quicker...lets help her get back to her usual PMA self.

Thanks for everything all of you have already done, and the dinners, the school fundraisers, the community fundraisers, the kind notes, and the prayers. I know she has picked me up more times than any wife should ever to , and so I am embracing the challenge to get her back to her "I kicked cancer's ass" bad ol self.