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 22, 2009

Off to Iowa City!

Tomorrow Mark, my brother Michael and I are off to Iowa to see the guru of Carcinoid Cancer. We are just gathering some information on some new experimental treatments and some clinical trails that may be offered to me. I have been waiting to see this doctor since March so I am really excited to see what he can do to help. The appointment could not of come at a better time because we just got the results back from my two day octreotide scan and the news was mixed. The two large tumors in the liver did shrink a little, so ya for that. Unfortunately there are many new tumors in the bones and some have spread to the ovary. This is why I have been in an enormous amount of pain in the last month. Although, it seems like every time I hear not so great news I have a glimmer of hope that goes with it. Today I am hanging on the hope that this doctor has some options for me.

I hate posting mixed or bad results on the blog for many reasons. First and most importantly, I don't want all my carcinoid posse to give up hope. I have not given up, so I don't want them to think that this fight is hopeless. It is true that when one door, or treatment, closes another one opens. I have never accepted the bad news without looking ahead for some good news. Today my good news is this appointment I have in Iowa. I like to think of it as if a hurdle gets in the way of life and it's to high to jump over you can go around it because there is always another way. You just need to be determine to find it and not give up until you find it. Often I hold back posting when I am not at my best for that exact reason. I don't want other carcinoid patients who read my blog to feel down. If each one of us supports each other then this disease will not win.

Another reason why I keep the bad news under lock and key at times is because I don't ever want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't feel sorry for myself, so the last thing I want is for others to pity me. I do not have time in my life for self-pity. I have this quote inside my Bible beside my bed. Not sure where I heard it, read it or who even claims it but I use it for a book mark. And when I start to feel that "dark side" creeping in I reach for it:

"Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.”

I am so lucky to have my family, my friends and the opportunity to know what is really important in life. It is something that you get when faced with an adversity that is life or death. It is like your eyes get washed with your tears and you see things so much clearer. I know that is deep or difficult to relate to but I also know that some of you who have been through a similar situation are shaking your heads knowing exactly what I am saying. It's like that gift that comes with cancer. Sounds crazy but if you look at this disease as exactly that it makes it a whole hell of a lot easier to navigate through.

Lastly, as I stated over and over again in my blog I hate talking about bad news. I just as well stuff it under a log and never lift it up again. I feel like if the news does not give any benefit by telling it then keep it in. It is the same way I feel about negative people. I avoid them like the plague. No need to spread the germ of negative.

However, in this case I have up news to go with the new tumors. The fact that some of the liver tumors have decreased in size and that I have an appointment with the "Mack Daddy" of Carcinoid Doctors on Wed.(boy I am talking like my sons). So as promised I gave you the news of the scans, but now I need a promise form all my supporters. That is do not feel sorry for me, feel inspired by me. Do something this week that will make you a better person. Don't cry for me, cry with me.

Keep me in your prayers Tuesday and Wednesday. I am hoping for a miracle.


check out the photo to my earlier blog. One of those breath taking moments I write about.