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
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'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
C/o S & T Bank
Friday, March 20, 2009
Sunny's pain has been constant but not as strong as the last time. Her nauseau has came and went but she has continued to want to go out and do things and not to be cooped up here at Hilton Basel. We went to the zoo today. 36 acres. Actually the perfect size to walk through in 90 minutes and I got to take some more videos while she got some amazing pictures. We learned just a few days ago that this little escape was a mere two train stops away from our hotel here, although in the other direction that we have been accustomed to. So we hopped on the number 8, went past a few Pizzeria's with Take Away service(thats for to-go food not irate customers) another wonderful centuries old church and after a quick two block walk we were in the zoo.
It was actually the cleanest place we have seen so far in Switzerland. No graffiti, no litter, no smoking , and a wonderful soup and salad bar that for some reason Sunny didn't want to try. We went through the Viviarium and saw lots of cool fish, penquins, and alas no real sharks. We got real close to rhino's, a snow leopard, a tiger, pelicans, and flamingo's. We dodged a diving Switz vulture or something which scared the swiss cheese right out of us, we got to see little Swiss children scream and carry on and then listen as their frustrated parents try to get them under control ( apparently the whole Dr. Spock we should just talk to our children and understand why they are beating each other with sticks as they walk by turtles speech may have been a gross mistake in child rearing) and then the coup de grace we got to see the papa boar sneak up from behind and "jump" on the mama boar, like a dog in heat on an unsuspecting leg. We both laughed not because we are immature nature prudes, but because we envisioned what our three boys would have said or done at that special moment in time.
After catching the train back to the main station outside Hilton Basel, we tried to find a place to sit down and enjoy lunch. We walked around the corner to a pizzeria we had spied on the train, only to discover that they close at 2:00 and reopen at 6:00. I must admit , this has been fairly common around here, this 3 or 4 hour siesta time that restaurants take every day. Kind of defeats the purpose of the long lunch or the multi-martini business luncheon....sorry last call guys its almost 2:00....So we went back to a place that is as warm to Sunny's heart as Somma's is to mine...Starbuck's. We had a 40 franc lunch consisting of a bottled water (no gas), two blueberry muffins, a pasta salad, and some kind of ham on bagel sandwich that Sunny actually enjoyed immensely.
We are back resting...Sunny is watching her Jeremy Kyle hour(he's like a cross between Jerry Springer and Oprah with a Benny Hill accent)...and I am waiting for CBS SPORTS .com to be able to watch the basketball on the laptop. It even has real honest to goodness American commercials. By the way the slightly effiminate lad won Paris Hilton's British Best Friend last night in case anyone was wondering. Apparently beat out the aspiring singer and the former stripper. Now you see why I sit in front of a Dell watch a small, fuzzy screen with in and out audio and thank God that technology can let me watch Pitt play tonight at 7:55 PM Basel time.
We are going to head back over to the trainstation in a little bit because Sunny still has a few chutzky's to buy. She is feeling confident and is fresh off a multi-lingual bartering beatdown yesterday afternoon at the MarketPlatz , saving 10 francs on some items at a poor artisan's stand. She is the best. With all of the pain, dizziness , and all, she still goes store to store, finds the best sales and then picks out the gift for those loved ones back home. She is the one with the cancer, and yet I am embarrassed to say I am the one whining about back pain from walking all across town with her trying to keep up to my little shopping Swiss Sunny.
After we hit the station stores, we are going to catch the 11 train to the river so that she can get a picture of the sunset. Its a beautiful scene with all of the old architecture, the church towers, and the reflections off of the water and she'll be damned if she misses it again. So at least I can get her to stop for a beer and sushi or veal sausage wurst or a weenie in a bun or something.
Then we come back to pack. The longest day of the trip is tomorrow. The return back to the states. Philly will never look so beautiful and neither will the Parkway or the tunnells. We miss our boys, we miss our family and friends but we are almost back. Please keep Sunny in your thoughts and prayers especially tomorrow during the travel back home as we will continue to keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks to everyone who helped out with Casa de Carney and those crazy boys of ours this week, my mother in law, Colleen, Coach Steve, HOOPS JJ, Judy, and the rest....we couldn't have done this trip without your help.