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, June 26, 2009

We are back again!!!

Well I am back and filled with all kinds of new information. Mark, my brother Micheal and I had a good time. It was really nice to spend time with both of them together. Mark was a real trooper because from what I am told Jennings' can drive you crazy at times. We are very controlling and like to run things our way. We always laugh because we understand each others idiosyncrasies and can relate. It's the ones we married (the outlaws they call themselves) that like to gather around and compare notes about the uniqueness. Anyways Mark just let Mike and I take control as he just went with the flow.

Micheal was great too. It was really nice to have someone else come along to actually see what we go through on a day to day basis because of this cancer. I try to hide all the inconveniences of this disease because it is just something we do and there is no need to discuss it. He was very respectful of my choices and did not try to talk me into anything. Since my dad passed Mike has kinda of been the leader of the family. He is wonderful and very generous. He is a big brother anyone would love to have and I am glad he is mine. He has been a huge support through this whole journey. It amazes me how much he is like my dad. Very comforting. My sister-in-law Sue (my brother Happy's wife) and my niece stayed here and with the help of my friend Sharon watched the boys. She whipped the boys into shape for me and the house was spotless when I got home.

We were so blessed to have a place to stay. My friend Leah hooked me up with friends of her that live in Iowa City and John, the husband, actually is a doctor which specializes in oncology radiation at the same hospital as Dr. O'Dorisio. They were an amazing family and now are great friends. They opened up their home to me anytime I will need to continue my care in Iowa. They were truly the work of God. I can not thank Leah, Michelle and John for reaching out to me. Thank you again.

The doctor's visit took hours. I had 9 valves of blood taken, few scans and ultra scans, and met with the doctor for almost an hour and a half. He was soooo knowledgeable about the cancer and has dedicated his life to just this type of cancer. He was so patient with all our questions and so amazing in helping us understand this cancer. For the very first time in 13 years I actually felt like I spoke to someone who knew everything there is to know about Carcinoid Cancer. Never ones did he say "I don't know" to any question I asked, and I asked many. He spoke with confidence and hope. He was very straight forward in admitting that this is one of the most difficult cancers to understand but talked with belief. However he did say that there is no cure and it is his job to keep me alive as long as possible.

So here is the game plan for now (subject to change depending on my body and my reactions):

1. The cancer has spread to my gallbladder and ovary (the only one I have left) so I will have surgery to remove both of those soon.

2. I am now going to be given myself injections 3 times a day of sando to help keep the tumors at bay and to help keep the endocrine symptoms in control. I will also go to the hospital every 21 days for an even larger dose.

3. I will go on a drug (undecided which one as of now) that will help with the bone pain and keep the bones as strong as they can be with the cancer invading them. This drug should also help with the pain.

4. I will go on pancreatic enzymes to protect me from the medicine I will be trying in the clinical trail.

5. I will start his clinical trail.

6. I will start a drug called Affinitor. The problem is that this drug is not covered by my insurance and cost $500 a day. YES A DAY!!!! So I am looking into grants to help us out on that. But it is proven to help stop the spread of carcinoid cancer.

7. I will go back to Switzerland in the fall to winter. Gives us more time to come up with the money for that.

8. If all fails then I will have extensive chemo. LAST OPTION because it is very hard on the body with little results.

So that is the game plan. Not once did he tell me to sit and wait. Although many of this treatments are not covered by my insurance I still feel at peace. I will find a way to pay for them but I will not give up. This cancer will not take me down without a fight.