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
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'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
C/o S & T Bank
Friday, July 3, 2009
Anyways, I just felt the need to post today about how much support I have and how much I appreciate all of it. When a person is in pain, the pain that is beyond tolerable, it is so easy to start to go to the "dark side". There were a few times this week when I could of just slipped into the deep abyss of feeling sorry for myself or just giving up. But all those who are around me make it completely impossible to do so and Mark is always there to remind me of how blessed I am. I thought about getting him a cheer leading skirt and some pompoms to shake because he has taken on that role. The other day after thanking my girlfriend for helping me out with the boys she made a comment about wishing she could do more but she doesn't know how to help me. That is not the first time someone has made that comment to me and I know that many of you feel that way. All I can say is that the little things that are done to help me: phone calls, an email, a card, dinner, planning the dinner list, organizing the sunning, setting up my chair at a bb game, prayers, invites to lunch, taking my boys out to dinner, loading my car at the grocery store when you see me, etc. mean the world to me. It makes me determined to not give in to this disease. I know to many of you they seem so easy and trivial but to Mark and I they mean the world. Although at times I feel helpless and embarrassed that I need that help, I have learned that it is worth taking. It is those things that make me appreciate how truly blessed I am and that this cancer has shown me the good in people. Once again my family and I can never pay it back but we can pay it forward, which will make a difference in someone else life.
When I was redignosed last May I had a house full of people around me for weeks then months pitching in and just supporting me. I had two of my dearest friends start a dinner list so my family could eat. I had fundraiser ideas being tossed at me in every direction. I had a group of friends and neighbors planting my flowers and a summer of grass cutting. My mailbox was filled everyday with cards. I had a few packages being sent to me of things to get me through the days when I would be sick. Phone calls filled my answering machine. And I can not forget the how my family rallied around me. Mark, the boys and me walked around like zombies in complete shock and everyone else just step in. It got us through and still does. But I remember my mind spinning with thoughts repaying or how I did not want anyone to think of me as helpless. I would continue to say over and over again, "I don't want anyone to think I am less of a person because I am sick". I was afraid that all this people that were helping lost respect for me or worse felt sorry for me.
I have come to realizes that was not the case in the least bit. But that I needed this support and God has given me amazing people in my life. I have always been able to take care of myself... with or without cancer. I realizes now that I never had to do that and that I was surrounded by family and friends who just do for me if I let them be the amazing and caring people they are. The things that many of you do may feel like nothing to you but to me they keep me motivated to keep fighting.
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. That is what happen to me this week and Mark and the boys were excused from trying to keep me up. You all have lighted the flame within me this week by your support. It takes weeks like this past one when I am reminded that I have this horrible cancer, to see how truly blessed I am. Monday I will be going for another group of bone scans and X-Ray. Then later that week I will be receiving my first treatment for the actual cancer in the bones. Although the progress for these treatments have not shown the exact results I am hoping and wishing for the cancer has shown me how unbelievable amazing my life is because of all the people around me. Whatever my results may be and whatever the new treatment does to me I know that with all of you I will get through.
Thank you again,