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
Monday, November 16, 2009
I tried every excuse though not to go. I thought, "if Mark and the boys fight me about church this morning, what they are wearing or slowly get ready....I am just going to give in and go back to bed." But for the first time since Mother's Day, because that day I asked to go to church without any arguments and arrive on time for my present, they just got up and got dressed. "Darn" I thought, "I guess I cannot use their behavior as an excuse not to go." We actually arrived one minute late which is about 10 minutes early for the Carney Clan. There were no arguments in the extended SUV as to where they where going to sit (which I will never understand anyways because I sat on the arm rest while my other siblings piled in a small car when I was growing up. My boys have a three rows of leather seats with headsets to watch a movie. Any seat to me in this automobile looks like luxury.) So I figured I was meant to hear Pastor Frank's message since with God's grace my family was the perfect church goers this week.
For the past eight weeks we have been studying the Beatitudes. Yesterday was, "Blessed are the peacemakers" Mathew 5:9. I sat there with one of my three boys on each side of me and decided that this message would be for them. Case in point is that even in church they need to be separated. After all, I know what a peacemaker is because I have three boys, a feisty husband and the youngest of a big family. I've been a peacemaker all my life....so I thought.
After listening more intently I learned what it really means to be a peacemaker. Being a peacemaker is more then just resolving conflict. It's about giving others actual peace when they are going through a battle that you have already experienced. It is the choice of sharing your experiences with others so that it is easier for them. God wants us to be a person who shares hope. As believers we are obligated to be an example to others and be there for others. "Two people are better than one. If one falls down the other can help them up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls because no one is there to help." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I was able to somewhat understand the answer to the question that we all ask when we go through difficult times.....WHY? In my words the answer is: only God knows. I never believed that God gives us evil or hardships because of our actions in the past. But what I learned is that God may let them happen so that we can turn to him and help others turn to him. Sometimes we don't know that we need God until that's all we have left. Then with our faith we may crawl to him and he then takes over. That is when we see it is never to late to turn to God, but the earlier the better because your pain is less.
We are then to use our brokenness to help others so that they can experience your peace. I have always said that is what I wanted to do with this blog. I want others to learn from what took me so long to learn. It may be with different treatments, new information on this rare cancer I have found or my experiences through this journey. Or I may just inspire one or two of my blog family to not give in to there burdens or give up. Whatever we all are going through it is tough and I want others to have peace. After all, everyone has there own cancers.