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

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two blogs in a row

So I have to make up for some missing blogs according to my cancer posse. I can not believe how yesterday's blog got so much attention. First, I will confirm I will NEVER give up. I have six little blues eyes watching every way I handle this journey. I made a promise to them and their dad that I will fight as long as God wants me too. However, I guess I needed a reminder of that promise I made. And when I saw two out of the six eyes full of fear and tears I knew that my example was not the best.

One particular email I received today stood out. It was from a cancer survivor that reads my blog. She is waiting for results from a biopsy that her son just had and she is fearful of the outcome. She said that she needs to know the Sunny side of waiting. It brought me back to when waiting for results would overcome my life. I use to pace and pace for days carrying my phone around with me everywhere I went just in case the doctor called. I don't do that anymore. I don't let it consume me because I realized that would mean that the cancer is winning. It is affected me both physically and mentally, which is giving it more power then it deserves.

After reading her amazing email I thought about what I could say to her to let her anxieties not take over her life. All that came to my mind was have faith. Faith that whatever the outcome may be you are not alone. Worry about what you can control and let God handle the rest. When you offer it up to him you get a whole new sense of peace. A peace that I have never felt until I decided to give it to Him and let Him take a hold of the wheel. Let go of trying to control the situation and let God do what he has promised us he will do. Do what ever you are able to do to help the situation then let go of the worry. Sounds easy right! Well it is.

I try very hard to live up to what I say. But there has been times when I catch myself trying to play God and control a situation. The famous comment someone says to you when you are finding things difficult is "God never gives you what you can not handle". Well there are times when I wish God would stop thinking so highly of me. Faith that I can handle what ever comes my way is what gives me the strength to hold on. Having true faith means you no longer need to have a sense of control over things that our out of your control. You lose worry and gain the greatest sense of strength and calmness.

There are times when I just feel like becoming a turtle and crawling in my shell. I have also had times when I thought it would be a lot easier if I just take a break from the fight for a while. I have become tired and weary so I just want to sleep. But I refuse to lose my faith. Faith gives me the courage to let go and see what God can do. I am not saying that because I have faith God will give me a miracle and cure me. However, I do believe it could happen. But my faith is more simple then that. It is knowing that while I am climbing this mountain God is right next to me holding my hand. I have seen some amazing things happen because of letting go and letting God take a hold of the situation. And when I feel that faith falling I then pray and it God puts someone in my life to bring it back. Yesterday it was Mark. Today it was all the emails, text messages and phone calls I received.