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

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Below is an email that was sent to me and I need to share it with everyone. I have been corresponding with this family for a few months and am sadden by the news. I rarely like to post depressing or sad news but my heart is leading me to do this for several reasons.

First, I want to stress the need for more research and education to be dedicated to Carcinoid Cancer. Time and time again when I speak to doctors, foundation and even government officials I am told that this is such a rare cancer that money has to be spent on the more "popular" cancers. Like for any reason we need to describe any cancer as popular. Secondly, I would like to correct the misconception that Carcinoid Cancer is slow going and patients can live for many years with this type of cancer. That may be true for some stages of this cancer, just like breast, lung, liver etc., but in many cases that is not true. I get really frustrated when I hear someone, either a doctor, patient, or just a well intentioned person say, "if you have to get cancer this is the one to get." You can live for up to 5 years with Carcinoid Cancer before it takes your life. Tell that to the family of a 58 year old man who dreams of his future with his wife and first grandchild. Or tell that to my boys who in 5 years from my reoccurance they will be 16, 15, and 14. Tell that to Mark when he is a single father or to the doctor who told me to get my affairs in order because it will take a few months before "it" gets to bad. Next, I want to show that there are many stories that are just as heart aching as mine. Different situations, but just as tragic.

Lastly, I want to pay honor a man who was loved so dearly by his wife that she dedicated her life to him. I man after sending 2 boys to college had planned to retire soon and spend time just being a husband and a grandfather with complete satisfaction. To a man that raised his children to be caring individual which is proven by their career choices as a teacher and nurse. This man fought with all he could against his disease so that he would be around for his first grandson which is due in 4 weeks. Some may say he is just an ordinary man because he was not a famous movie star, well known athlete, well liked professor, famous politician or Nobel Prize winner who died from cancer. But to his wife, two sons, daughter-in-law, soon to be grandson, or anyone else whose life he touched he is a hero. A man that lived with courage and strength. A man that did not give in to this horrific cancer and fought with all he had to the very end. After suffering everyday from this cancer I can rightfully say he is a true hero. Good bye to one of my Carcinoid Posse.

Hi Sunny,
It took me awhile to write you, but felt I needed to, because you have been an inspiration to my husband since he was diagnosed last November.
Unfortunately Wade passed away August 6th, he had undergone only 3 embolization treatments since the beginning, and I did take him to UPMC for a 2nd opinion with Dr. Gamblin. Every CT scan he had was worse than the previous, they finally determined the treatments were not working. His initail CT scan 9 months ago was bad, showed "far advanced metastatic lesions to spleen and liver, too numerous to count, so I really feel this was way too advanced when it was first diagnosed, although those doctors always gave him hope. Wade was 58, his obituary is on the Boylan Funeral Home website(Zelienople, PA) if you ever want to read it. He was a wonderful husband and father. I mentioned the type of cancer in the obituary, because I want to bring this very underdiagnosed, under detected cancer to everyone's attention. He fought til the end, and never gave up hope. You need to keep up the fight, and getting the word out on this type of cancer is so important. We never got anywhere else for any other opinions, because Wade was too sick. I just wish they would have discovered this so much sooner, so he would've had a better chance of survival.
I will continue to pray for you and cheer you on to good health. Right now I have to stay off all the cancer websites, its too painful because I miss Wade so much. As I said, I hesitated to write you, because I too hate to mention the "d" word, but I thought I should tell you, because he admired your courage, and he followed your blog faithfully.
God Bless,
Trudy Levere