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

Monday, June 15, 2009

Days like today I hate cancer!

I must say when I was rediagnosed with cancer of the liver, lymph nodes and bones I made up my mind that I was going to fight this disease with everything I got and most importantly with a positive attitude. I was and still am determine to not be defined as a "cancer person" but as a person who has cancer and still lives her life like she always did. For the most part with good organization and planning I do a good job of not letting this disease interfere with things I enjoy to do or events that I don't want to miss. But there are times no matter how hard I try that cancer gets in the way.

Today is a prime example. Mark had decided to take today and tomorrow off so that he can be with me when I go through this horrific two day Octreotide scan. Little did we know that it was also the day of the Pittsburgh Penguin's Stanley Cup parade. For those of you who don't live in the US or are not hockey fans the Pittsburgh Penguin's are our home hockey team and YES they won the Stanley Cup on Friday. So the city of Pittsburgh had planned a winning parade, like was had for our Steelers who are the Super Bowl Champs, and my boys (Mark too) where dieing to go to. Not to mention it was a picture perfect weather day. Blue skies and high 70's. So my heart broke last night when I told the boys that mom had a scan scheduled (which took me 2 weeks to get so I could not cancel) and they could not go to the parade. I wasn't sure who was more disappointed the boys or me because I could not share in their excitement about the parade. So after looking in their big blue eyes, which always gets me, I decided to have Mark take them to the parade and I would go to the scan by myself.

The last time I had this scan was a little over a year ago and had about 30 different scans since then so I could not remember the logistics of the whole procedure. What I did remember was that I got something radio active injected in me and had to lay in a confine space for a long time. I also remember that it is very painful on the spots of the bones and the liver where I have tumors and when it was over I needed a wheelchair because I was in to much pain to walk. What I did not remember and realized when I got there was that I was injected and then could leave (but don't go near small children) yet had to return in four hours for the actual scan process itself. It was recommended by the tech that I not drive anywhere because the injection could make me feel a little sick. So after finding that out I was really cursing cancer. My family was out on a beautiful day enjoy life and I was alone in a hospital that I have seen way to much of this past year, lighting up like light bright.

For those of you who know me you would not be surprised when I did get in my car and drive home in between because as I was sitting in the chapel of the hospital finding my "happy place" and I remembered that I did not wash the boys baseball uniforms for their game tonight and would now not be home in time to get them washed. So I pretending that it was urgent that I drive home and do that. When in actuality I could not sit at the hospital for 4 hours and stew about how much I hate this cancer. After getting home and putting the uniforms in the washer the boys came home with smiles on their faces. They could not get the words out fast enough about the day and the parade. I was so glad that they got to go but sadden that I could not be with them to see them enjoy it. So the uniforms got washed and off I went again back to the hospital for phase one of the scan from hell. Mark wanted to come with me but baseball was calling and one of us should be there to cheer them on.

I truly hate when I let this disease take control my mood. Today that is what it did but only for a moment. I was frustrated and felt trapped. Rarely do I like to write a negative post, but I wanted you all to know that I do at times hate what cancer has done to my life. I feel at times that it is a full time job to just stay alive and it is getting really old. But then I come home after laying in a tube in horrible pain to a house full of happy boys, to a dinner made by a friend, to a few cards that I got in the mail and realized that I am truly blessed no matter what the cancer does. Tomorrow is another day of scans but when it is all over my life is still great.