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, September 17, 2009

Thanks---What A Day

Sorry for the lag this week in getting a follow up to the last entry. Sunny has had one of those cancer weeks and it has taken the best of her at times. Although I kept insisting that I was doing the follow up entry to the wiffle ball event on Sunday , somehow it is already Thursday and the week is almost gone. Let me start by saying Sunday was amazing. Sunny, the boys, and I would like to thank everyone who volunteered their time, contributed goods or money, participated in the tournament or just simply came to Boyce Park to share in the fun. Putting together a fundraiser for 600 to 1000+ people takes a lot of work and although the end result was Sunday the behind the scenes planning and tasks actually began several months ago.

Before I start with the thank you's (and like an Oscar acceptance speech I may go a little long) we want to give thanks to God for blessing us with Sunny's simply being here for the 2nd Annual Swing Against Cancer Event. A year ago , neither one of us knew what to expect although we both had faith and the belief that she was going to fight the Carcinoid tumors with everything she has. Also we couldn't have been blessed with a more perfect day weather wise and its obvious that when you turn things over to him , sorry Allstate, but there are no better hands to put them in.

We began the serious planning around the fourth of July and right from the beginning my sister-in-law Vicki, Sunny's nephew Ray, cousin JulieAnne, Uncle Tom and Aunt Joan, and our good friends Bill and Lisa, have put up with all of the headaches that accompany pulling a day like Sunday off. (Not to mention some bickering, name-calling, and my occasional "its my way or the highway" outbursts) Thanks for helping us stay the course, never wavering in your commitment to help, and always sharing in Sunny's "We will find a way" attitude. You are all extremely dear to us and I thank you in advance for reenlisting for next year's 3rd Annual Take A Swing Against Cancer event.

As the big day approached things really got hectic and yes even a bit stressful. Yet we were once again blessed with more help than we ever could have prayed for or expected. Sunny's brother Michael played the recurring role of Mr. Let Me Handle That Loose End No Problem even though he had to play host to VIP's from Nashville who wanted to see that little Steelers-Titans game last week. Mike I know you do what you do because "hey she is my sister" but I know you have a lot going on, and the kids always enjoy seeing Uncle raise the cup, here's a tall cold one for you....thanks.

Sunny's brother Happy and my sister-in-law Sue came all the way in from Cleveland to help and we knew that the money and sign-up responsibilities were in the best of hands. Jimmy, Jesse, and Trish, it was great to see you there selling shirts, beer cups, drawing up brackets, and even playing in the games when needed....thanks.

Another nephew HOOPS JJ not only did his best to help out around the chaos when needed, but also brought(dare I say forced) the CMU men's basketball team to once again play in the tournament and although one team got bounced early, the other made it all the way to the semi-finals. Talking to several of them I can tell you that besides being good athletes they are also going to be leaders at whatever they ultimately do in life. Sunny really got a kick out of them and I know when "Coach" showed up later in the day, they sort of felt like extended family from Oakland.

Kelly, the Sultan of Chinese Auctions was incredible once again. We literally threw baskets at her, assorted kites, pictures, balls, food, gift cards, and all of the other donations at her and never doubted for a minute that at least that part of the day was in the right hands. You are not only a great organizer, but the dedication you exhibited with all of the recent changes in your life was not unappreciated. Thanks. (We will start the bringing the baskets for next years event to your house later this month if you are going to be home.) Once again we manage to have the best Chinese Auction in Plum with all the amazing donations, Dooney Purse (Carrie Lou), Penguin tickets ( Jackie and Bobby), Sunny's sisters many baskets, The Ward signed photograph (Fred Gleeson), JROTC's basket (Chealsea Getsy) and even custom art work from the famous Sharon Mitolo. I can not forget all the donations that John Cinq. got. And of course Ray-Ray, as known by in the crazy Jennings' family, for everything. To many to list.

DJ Louie entertained all day, put up with my long-winded game break announcements, advertised the next activity/event on the slate all day long and played some great tunes. I saw a lot of butts a shakin and hips a swayin on the field as players waited for their next game. (I hope you didn't blow off to much of church to get there as early as you did...thanks a bunch)

Our national anthem never sounded better thanks to Plum's own Brittany...who overcame nerves from singing in front of several hundred people whom she goes to school with and right up in front of knocked them dead...broke a leg....yada yada....whatever the right term is you were awesome...and the kids wanted to call the Hoff to see about getting you on NBC next year.

We are blessed with great neighbors. I want to thank JR for all of his help and especially for picking up the beer trailer with me or else I would have had all of Sunny's kin hunting me down sober...Donna for helping at the pavilion...Thanks to Greg and Karen for your efforts all day long from the set up to the have become treasures in the Carney Jewel Box of Life....Thanks Tom for trusting us with you new commercial generator....we actually had a few offers for it as the day went along and the beer flowed...but we had to keep reminding those Irish that the generators were not actually part of the silent auction...Thanks Pete for your generous donation to the Chinese Auction...and thanks to the kids "down the street" who came out and played...

I know this is getting really long but I don't want to leave anyone out so please bear with me....(or leave it up on your screen...get a coffee...and come back...its a computer I will still be here)

Sunny and I are blessed with an incredible cast of friends both from the old neighborhood, the Field of Dreams, and out here in Plum. Let me tell you how much you all mean to us. From Cinq who came out several times that week to schlep stuff around with me and was part of Team Grill all day, to the Mailman who despite to trying to kill of my gas grill enroute Sunday morning was an amazing help, to Mike G who did food runs and the shopping with Lisa F and Sunny on Saturday , to Greg(or Buzz as the kids call him) who had the unenviable task of trying to step into Ray's shoes as co-tourney coordinator on day game and yet pulled it off....Mr. Kudranski, Sweet Lou, and Ralph (the rest of Team Grill) I know sweat a few pounds off working those two grills all day...thanks....the burgers and dogs were awesome...Leslie thanks for helping at the pavilion...Lisa L and Lisa F you guys were amazing. Especially fighting off those hungry teenagers.

The umpires who I relied on and whom without the day would have been a dud...John N, Zummo, Scott M, Rossi, Shaun B, Pat B, Milt, Gooch, Bill S(once he learned the rules)you guys all I am sure have well earned sunburns but never lost your sense of humor or the reason why we are all there(I know I asked others to pick up a game here and there when needed...and with my short term memory loss I want to say thanks because your efforts were just as needed)

Unity Church has become a real support team for us throughout this "Carcinoid Journey" and to April and the rest of Sunny's weekly group thanks....the prayers, the slide, the help were all indeed a blessing and a true example of Pastor Frank's "let them see you walk...not talk" message..

The Plum HS ROTC volunteers....I had the pleasure of meeting and umping one of your games and your time and help was a real testament to the future leaders you will be whether in the service or not...thanks...

Laura C. (the face-painting wizard) Mrs. Thompson(the bead baroness)and to all of those who dyed hair and made that special area by the playground a true kidsZONE...thanks...and of course JulieAnn for organizing and planning the whole area. That was one of Sunny's dreams for this year....a fun zone for kids. You know she's all about the kids.

I also want to thanks to Sunny's nephew Ray again for his relentless efforts and then the ensuing generosity of Dicks Sporting Goods, to the real shop-n-save lady (yes Laura) and the generous food donations, to McGinley Wilson (Tony B) for the beer and helping secure the trailer, to Gooch (the original MR SmokenGuns) for his donation, John H and Michelle for first the boxes of chips and then the help that day, and to Chris S who had to be a real pain in the you know where but came through with all of the pop, those really cool coolers, and the water....thanks....thanks Susan for creating the link for the website to help ease the registration process and for your above the call of duty supersized basket of fun...thanks

Finally to all of you that came to play and to just be there to support Sunny, Thanks. A lot of work goes behind TAKE A SWING AGAINST CANCER....but without all of you coming, and being so giving, especially as things can be tough out there, we really , really, really want to hug you all if we could. You are all very special and I only hope that we can give back down the road as much as we have been blessed with.

Sunny wanted me to just do a simple thank you at the risk of leaving someone out...and those of you who know me , know I like to keep things short. But that day meant a lot to us, a lot of memories were made, and a lot of prayers were answered. If I did overlook anyone....please accept my apologies....but rest assured your efforts were not unnoticed, unappreciated, and unrewarded. On Tuesday when Sunny got together with some of her family (one of the many days they are together because their are so many and I can only handle a few at a time) we started to plan next year. But according to Sunny she will be better and it will be for other families suffering. By the way, she has donate a percentage of the proceeds to two other families fighting with Carcinoid Cancer. Something not unexpected from her. See you next year.