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, May 1, 2009
I decided to do this one on my own. I had many volunteers wanting to take me but sometimes it's nice to test my strength and see what I can do by myself. In addition, I hate having to put others out. Not to mention the sight at Hillman Cancer Center, when you are not use to seeing a huge room full of 100+ very ill cancer patients with their loving ones, can be quite dispiriting. Also, I don't like to stress about having those who go with me feeling sorry for me or any of my fellow cancer victims. I think about the first time, at age 24, when I went to get my very first scan. I thought I had my act together and could handle anything back then. I probably took 2 hours the night before picking out my outfit. I took my lunch break from my first good paying job out of college and thought I could just run in, get the scan and be back to the office to make the afternoon sales meeting. Well, my ignorance got the best of me. The visions of that waiting room haunted me for months. I think it was then that I started to realizes that there is more to life then having a huge career and making tons of money. Although, I am sure the news about the cancer on my ovary a few days later hit it home. I even had Mark stay at work yesterday. I must admit though it was sad being the only one in the whole waiting room with nobody sitting next to me. But when it was all over, I felt elaborated that I did this on my own. It's like climbing another cancer mountain. I refuse to let this disease take my independence from me. However, now that I know I can do it I don't want to try it again.
I feel very guilty sometimes sitting there with IV's in my arm and looking so well. I know what the others around me are feeling...I've been there and sometimes feel that bad. But for some reason from God I don't look as sick. When the nurse called my name to take me back to insert the IV I stood up in a crowd full of patients and she asked me if the patient is in the restroom. I told her I was the patient and she took a double take. Once we got back to the small medically equipped room she apologized and told me that after reading my records she was expected someone in a wheel chair or at least looking much more ailing. I don't know why I am blessed to faux everyone around me. I don't know why others loose their hair and some don't. I just know that I have been truly blessed. At that moment I just thanked God for the blessing and then thanked Clineque. Going over the charts always takes time. She asks about each one of my numerous procedures and surgeries over the past so many years as if it could not be true. It's the same each time I go, they give me this implausible tone of voice and say, "you've had knee surgery, shoulder surgery, ovary removed, 2 other surgeries of the other ovary, 3 children, 2 miscarriages, 2 lung surgery, 1 lung removed, 9 surgical biopsies of 4 different organs, 3 chemo-immobilization's, many chemo and radiation treatments, treatments in Europe" and on and on they go as if anyone can make this crap up. It is then ended with, "you are 30 what?". I always like to spice things up with "no that's not me, I'm just here for an ingrown toenail?". I then finally get a smile and the sympathetic "I feel sorry for you look" disappears.
After being poked 9 times and looking like my mother's pin cushion she's proudly had for 30+ years, I was told that I am going to need to get a port soon. My good veins are now exhausted and the sooner I get that done the easier it will be. I had to wonder though easier for who? After looking at my records do you think I want to go through another procedure. I finally pointed out my secret good vain and success it was. The MRI lasted about 30 minutes and the tech was amazing. I warned her that I may start to feel trapped and if I yell please get me out asap. There was no need for that after all but the tech defiantly check on me many times. Last May when I had my first brain scan I think I had to be taken out 3 or 4 times before I could relax. I should have my results back by today but who knows when I will actually get a call. It's seem that doctors think that terminal cancer patient have all the time in the world to wait. I am pretty sure though it's nothing.
I will continue next week on the blogs about the kids. Logan's post is one that needs some time to work on.