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.
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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
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I had a new set of scans about a week ago and the results were so so. The miracle drug that I have been taking has not shrunk any of the tumors. Some are stable but new ones are popping up faster then I would like them to. After speaking with my liver oncologist after the scans I left his office feeling quite defeated and angry. He, on the other hand, keeps telling me that I am a miracle and I need to remember that I have had a whole year longer then what was expected. I am frustrated because I am doing everything I can do, and looking for more, to fight this fight but keep getting punched down over and over again. I am tired of losing this battle. I am also tired of pretending that everything is going to be alright when deep down I know that the only answer right now for this carcinoid cancer is to slow the process done. I want so badly to just once go into my doctors office and hear that I am in remission.
I also feel this enormous desire to keep everyone here at home positive and optimistic. I need to keep everything together and tell everyone....including myself...that I will get through this again. I must of said 100 times or more to Mark in the past 2 weeks to stop worrying about something we cannot control only to find myself up all hours of the night worrying for him. I feel this huge pressure to be strong for everyone while I continue my life like I don't have this monster invading every one of my organs. 99% of the time I believe and have faith that I will be here for my children and to see them graduate from high school, college, get married and have children of their own. However, at times there is that 1% that is so hard to overcome at times.
Today I got a call from my oncologist office and they told me that I need further tests and risky surgery as soon as possible. After I hung up the phone that 1% kicked in and I fell apart. But I had no one to fall apart too because I am the strong one and I have to keep my family thinking that this news is just a little bump in the road. As I started to tell Mark the water down filtered version of my conversation with the nurse I could tell that it meant him freaking out. As much as I appreciate his need to get upset and angry I really wanted it to be my turn just this once. My turn to scream and cry. My turn to feel sorry for myself and become bitter. Instead as I tried to communicate my frustrated I end up listening to his.
I knew that I had to clear my head so I snuck away for a walk. As I was walking I tried to figure things out and plan my next course of action. I kept asking myself why am I freaking out? Why do I feel like I am losing control of this battle? Why am I so frustrated when I knew this day and many worse days would come? The answer came quick. I don't know if it was God slapping me in the face or me just thinking straight but I realized that I am not suppose to be in control. He is in control. I need to let go of the wheel and let Him drive. I have to put my trust in God and give this up to Him. The answers will come if I open my heart and loose my need to control.
I lost my way for awhile. I needed to take control of something I have no control over.
On Tuesday I will see my main oncologist to discuss our new findings. We will lay out a game plan and I will proceed with all my heart again. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my Easter Holiday with my family and hug my boys every chance I get. I know that I can not control the outcome of this disease but I control how I handle the outcome.