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
Sunday, September 6, 2009
This is what I am noticing lately. I am finding ways to get relief because I have learned to adjust my life so that cancer does not beat me everyday. Since the boys went back to school it's been particularly hard to handle having this disease. I took a break from my extensive treatments this summer so I can spend quality time with my boys and now it's time to get back to work to fight this horrible attacker that is trying to knock me down. So this week my oncologist and I did our fall game plan to fight full force. Even though my blood levels are not where Dr. Friedland would like them to be I heavily persuading him to okay me to start the Afinator this week. He has agreed to do so if I promise him to be monitored on a weekly basis and agree to stop the meds if my levels do not go up soon. I will be starting the "Golden Drug" tomorrow and I have faith that this may be the answer. We are not sure of all the side effects because Afinator was just approved in May for renal cancer, not carcinoid, but I will deal with them when they come. I am also scheduled tomorrow for a few heart test because Carcinoid has a tendency to damage the heart and I have been having some pain in the chest. I blame it on the kids starting school and the stress of getting back into the ring with cancer. I have a good feeling that the tests will come back okay. Our game plan continues but I don't want to bore anyone with the details because who knows what curve balls this cancer will through me and then the game plan will need to be rewritten.
The purpose of posting today was not just for updates but was to express what I have learned this past week. In the midst of all the crazy planning for the amazing Wiffle Ball event that will be happening this Sunday and with the meetings for the 5k event on Oct. 18th, I have been able to reminisce about my life just one year ago. I thought about how much anxiety and emptiness I felt back then even with all the love I was receiving. I remember the exact moment I realized that I needed to let it all go and just have faith that it is God's plan. At that moment my battle changed from hopelessness to believing. Believing that what ever happens to me I am blessed to no end. This was my cancer turning point and I decided to enjoy my life and to fight to extended it. I made up my mind then that this evil will not take over the time I have left. This is when I photographed the famous "Believe" photo of me and the boys in the sunset. That photo and that moment has change my life and my journey.
Although at times my faith may teeter a little I have never lost it completely. It is not just having faith that the cancer will one day be miraculously gone. However, I will take that and do believe it could happen. It's the faith that God will always be by my side during these times of strife. It's believing that I can do any type of risky treatment and the outcome will be what it is suppose to be because He has a hand in it. It's having peace that my children will be taken care of if I am here or if the day is to come. I have faith that my family is there when I need them or my friends will come when I call. It's believing that I can do the impossible if I have faith that God will lead me to do that. The other day Mark said to me in his joking manner, "you think there is nothing you can't do. You are so full of yourself." In all fairness to him I think I told him I could do his job better then him or something like that. I don't always choose the best ways to movitate him. However, if someone said that to me I would not be joking with an answer back. Mark has a way to just shrug my craziness for perfection off with a good sense a humor. I guess that is why we make a good match. At the time of his comment I laughed and shook my head yes but later that night I realized that it's not me that can do anything....it's God. That is what I think. If you believe that, then you should never worry.
At the end of every service at Unity Church in Plum, Pa, Pastor Frank always says, "You go no place by accident. Where every you are God is sending you." I like to take that further and say, "Whatever you go through God is right beside you. It's never an accident".