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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Cross

I had every intention on blogging tonight about the great weekend I had and the kindness I witnessede. I had treatments on Thursday and wanted to post about that as well. I've been sick since Sunday and thought I would add that too. But something just happened to me I just have to share. The rest will wait until later

So to start off I had a double dose of treatments on Friday for the bone tumors. Normally I seperate these two different drugs by two weeks. But the nurse at the treatment center thought that I could handle both at once. Friday I was a little sick and exhausted, but Saturday I was able to shoot two sessions and go out that night with friends. Then on Sunday it all hit me and I've been in tremendous bone pain and sick to my stomach since then. After church on Sunday Ive been in and out of bed for the last three days.

Now I know I post a ton about my boys. I also know that I make them seem like these ideal perfect little angels. I can assure you and so can anyone that knows the Carney Boys well, that they are very typical wild boys. I am sure you are all tired of reading about them through my rose color glasses how perfect and wonderful they are. Well if that is the case then don't read on becaue I really need to post this about Nolan.

Anyways Nolan came home from school today and asked me before he even dropped his backpack on the floor, if my pain went away yet. Some kids come home from school and drop their junk and run out to play or run to their video game. But a child that has a parent with cancer has different anxieties. Of course like any mom with cancer I said, " its getting better". We then we went through his day and his homework and off he went to practice his hockey skills. I wobbled my way up the stairs to my master bathroom to take another pain med and hide for a while until those pills start to take the edge off. I could not help but start to cry and feel bad that Nolan only cares about how I am do. I hear a light tapping on the door so I hurry up and put the meds away wipe my tears and open the door. Nolan is standing there with this concerned look on his face. He reaches in his jean pocket and pulls out a small silver cross. He handed it to me. I asked him where he got this and why is he given it to me.

He began to tell me that I gave it to him before I left for Switzerland, but I could not remember. He continued to tell me that whenever he is upset or stressed he puts it in his pocket. This week is PSSA tests at his school and I guess I nagged way to much about how important these standardized test are. So he took the small cross off his dresser and has been carrying it around with him all week. I insisted that he keep it in his pocket because he will need it when he is taking his tests. But he kept handing back to me and finally said, "Mom, I will be fine if I know you are ok." He then told me if I hold it really tight maybe it will take my pain away.

I was completely speachless and surprised. I mean, I know that Nolan believes in God. We pray at dinner and at night. But I never knew he understood what it means to lean on God. I of course tell them about God, my faith and that all things are possible if you believe. But I never thought that they really got it. I guess I was wrong.

I took the cross and held it like he instructed me too. He smiled, gave me a hug and off he went to play hockey.