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, July 6, 2009

It's not about me

So tonight I am unable to sleep and I thought I would post. Two weeks ago I got an update about a friend that has been fighting a brain tumor and the news was not promising. I have been thinking about her, her husband and two little girls all night. She, like me, has exhausted all her treatment options and had began some clinical trails. Unfortunately, the trails have not worked and the tumor has grown. I have not spoken or exchange emails with her lately because she is unable but I have heard from those close to her that she still has her fight in her. We know each other through a mutual friend and I photographed her and her family years back... our cancer reconnected us. She is an amazing inspiration for me. She is determined to do whatever it takes to be here for her daughters. I remember last summer she called me to tell me not to give into this disease she had been diagnosed for about 6 months prior. We talked about alternative medicines, herbs and foods that stop the cancer growth and about doing whatever it takes to be here for our children. At that time she was eating blueberries everyday because she read somewhere that blueberries stop tumors. She is unbelievable.

One summer night I got a knock on my door and it was three of my very good friends from "the field" as we call the neighborhood that I grew up in (Greenfield). They where holding this beautiful huge box for me. Jen was not with them because she was under the weather but she helped with the surprise and gave them the idea. In the box was about 3 dozen individually wrapped gifts for me to open whenever I felt blue. The boys and I loved reaching for one every time something happened and when the last gift came to open it we were sad it was all over. It was so fun to have that gift, but better that my friends whom I sadly don't get to spend much time with since I moved came to my home just hoping I would be home. They are crazy like that. What I could not wrap my mind around was that this woman, mother, wife, attorney and cancer patient thought of me to cheer up. She is very special.

A few months ago Jen emailed me to see how I was doing. She was getting ready to take her girls to Disney World where the cancer was forgotten and the magic will be remembered. I was so excited for her to be able to spend that time with her princesses. We promised each other to get together for coffee when she got back. It's easy for two mom's with cancer to talk about things that others can not understand. Well that coffee meeting never happened and I regret not following through with it. Jen is being taken care of by hospice now and my heart is aching.

Through my whole crazy journey of cancer I have never felt sorry for myself. I don't ask why? I stopped trying to figure out where it's comes from and just accept that I have it. I feel the cancer taking is toll on me more and more, but I just keep chugging along. I try hard not to cry over it, although at times the tears flow. But when I see stories like Jen, I begin to question the fairness in life. This beautiful young mother, a wife and a promising career as an attorney has done everything right in life and now she is suffering. I know God is good but when my time comes I am going to ask him one question, "why do you choose who you choose?". I know I will finally understand the answer. Additionally, I know that I will never wait for a coffee with my friends. So everyone of you who have noncommittally said let's do lunch or coffee I am making a date with you this week. Look for my call.

Please pray for Jen but more importantly Jen's family who loves her so much.


Don't forget to register for the Wiffle Ball Tournament.