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 8, 2009

Scan Results!!!

Today was my appointment with my Liver Specialist, Dr. Gamblin (first time, Dr. Gamblin, I mentioned your name because I know you are reading this). We took the boys because we wanted to take them through Pitt's campus and show them where Mom and Dad spent time studying together before they were even thought of. I thought that it was just another doctors appointment where they read the scans (I had one Monday) and then out the door I go. Nothing special, no change, let's just wait and see. On Friday I spoke with my overall oncologist and he usually stresses the bone tumors because he knows they give me the most pain and that Dr. Gamblin handles the liver tumors. So Friday he told me that the PET Scan was somewhat inconclusive because not all carcinoid tumors show up on PET Scans but that possible two new tumors showed up in the bones. So I am schedule for a two day scan, Octreotide Scan, to look at the tumors that we know are there but did not show on the scan and to further look into the tow new spots. I was trying to avoid that scan because it is very long and hard on me. But it is what it is.

Boy I am rambling. Anyways back to the liver specialist news. Dr. Gamblim is a really neat doctor. Extremely smart but really down to earth even in his bow tie. When he came into the small room he had a huge smile on his face so I knew he had to tell me something good. I thought it was about the new carcinoid cancer division he and another doctor friend of mine are starting here in Pittsburgh which I was really eager to hear about. He always has a entourage of"want to be Dr. Gablim's" and Jackie, his trusty and amazing nurse, following behind me. He goes through introduction and then we start talking about my liver. Today he just had to spit it all out. He was so excited to tell me that the two huge tumors I have in my liver have shrunk. Not gone by no means but have SHRUNK!!!! They have only shrunk about 1/2 a cem. but they shrunk. I tried really hard to keep it together but I could feel my eyes just filling up with tears. I love those happy tears. I knew that Dr. Gamblim, who lives day to day speaking to really sick patients and patients that have lost hope, was so thrilled to offer me the great news. I think he was almost as happy as Mark and I were because the first thing he ask after breaking the good news was how are the boys. He is young and has three very young children so I know it is very concerning to him when a mother is his patient.

Friday when I heard that the bone tumors where about the same (they think????) but two more seem to have popped up I was not sad just kinda of disappointed. I kept thinking that I don't want to share this news with anyone because it just sucks. I felt like I was letting everyone who have helped me get this "Magic" treatment down. I of course want to be cancer free for me and my family, but it's more then that now. I want to be cancer free for everyone who has supported me. After all the help I have gotten to get to Switzerland and receive this treatment I need to get better. I owe it too those who have helped me. So yesterday was like a start up the mountain.

"Life is good, even when times are tough". I know that some of you are thinking less then a 1/2 cem. shrinkage does not seem like much. To me it means prolonging my life a little longer until a cure is found. It means another trip to Switzerland. It means that all the pain and suffering I went through was worth it. It means some GOOD IN CANCER. Sure it's not gone and I know that I need to still fight for my life but it defiantly helps keep me reaching for the moon.