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

Friday, April 24, 2009

Washington DC gets a Carney!

Thank you everyone for all the emails after yesterday's blog. I am so blessed to have so many people cheering me on. I will keep you all posted on the outcome. I have a good feeling that it is nothing though.

After posting yesterday I realized how good I feel after I write (or type) everything down. So you are blessed with another boring one to read.

This morning at 7:00 a.m. I dropped Austen off at school with a big tour bus waiting for him. He and his class are heading to the Nations Capital for a few days. This is the biggest field trip he has ever been on and the very first I have not chaperon. I must say my heart is aching. I feel this huge sense of guilt that I am not experiencing this trip with him. I think it's from being raised Catholic, sorry Mom. As I sit here typing this I am hearing rolling thunder coming from outside and Mark yelling the weather updates from the other room as if a hurricane is on it's way. He doesn't know that if he continues I may just throw him outside in it. So my mind is wondering to all the things that could happen when you drive in the rain. At least I am focusing on just the ride now, not like the nightmares I had last night about what could happen to my first born in DC. It's funny how a mom can fight terminal cancer like it's a itsy bitsy spider climbing your wall, but has a complete anxiety attack when her child leaves her for a few days. Last year when the first planning meeting came I was absolutely positive that I was going. I would of bet the house that I would be better by now. Of course, I believe the meeting was only a few days after my news of reoccurrence. But I must say again God knows what he is doing. Even though I am not with him we have gotten closer the last few days with all the preparation.

Austen and I spent hours together laughing and having a great time preparing for his time away from us. He was so excited about going and had no tension about me not chaperoning. I think he felt a sense of pride that I am trusting him, with other parents who know him well of course, to behave and be responsible. He also told me that he cannot wait to get away and to have fun. As we packed last night we had the most intense conversation about me and my illness. He really opened up and it felt so good to know what he's been holding in. I don't think he has ever been that honest with me about this whole journey our family has been forced to go on. When it was his time to get on the bus I just waved bye because I did not want to embarrass him by running up to him and squeezing him tight. He gave me the "I'm so cool nod" and off he went laughing with one of his best friends. I was so proud of strong and happy. As I walked back to the car stopping a few times to talk to a few parent that assured me that they would watch out for him, I hear him yelling "mom". He actually got off the bus to give me a hug and kiss. He squeezed me so tight and said, "I forgot to give you this." A big kiss on the check was his gift to me. He didn't care that everyone was watching and his friends were wondering what he was doing. He just did it. He then said, "Be good Mom and Make Good Choices".... my favorite saying to the boys when they walk out our door. It was one of those breathtaking moments that I write about.

Moments like these are when you can see "the good in cancer". It has given Austen a responsibility that only having a mom with cancer can give a kid. A kinda of maturity that he is his own person and not just the son of Sunny and Mark. Before my reoccurrence I know for a fact Austen would of never wanted to go on this trip without me. He was always a little more independent then the rest of my boys but still very needy. I realizes now that I made him that way by being a "helicopter mom". I think I like my boys to need me so much. He has been forced to change quickly....for the better I must add. He amazes me everyday. Sometimes in good ways and sometimes in not so good ways. I would not take back his growth over the past 11 months. I know he will have a wonderful time and have peace that Mom is okay.

Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy.

I wish I could say I did that but I think it was the cancer.