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

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Perfect time for THAT conversation

I am here in my favorite place with my is perfect. I woke up yesterday at 5:30 am Check Spellingfeeling like I was hit with a train. My bones ached to no end and I felt like I had one of those college day hangovers. Unfortunately again I did not have the fun the night before because I drunk no alchol. But I had to go and see the sunrise. I promised Nolan the night before that we would go to the beach for the sunrise and some shell collecting and then hit our favorite muffin shop. Nolan pretends to enjoy the sunrise as much as I do but if anyone knows him you know that he is all about the muffin run after. So I got myself together, picked up the camera and off we went.

I don't try to hide my pain from my children. I did for a long while after I was diagnosed but there is no need to do that now. They are living with my cancer and dealing with it. One reason is because I want them to realizes that despite my cancer and its effects I am loving life. Also, they are becoming men now at 11, 12, and 13 and I need their help. I depend on them for things now and I want them to understand that mommy is not running marathons or can bet them in a race anymore. Anymore.....I am so glad I can say ANYMORE because I am so glad I did those things when I could. Anyways, Nolan was so understanding when I told him I will point to the shells with my foot but he has to bend over to pick them up. It was actually fun.

The sunrise was once again amazing. In the begin of its ascendants it was covered behind a huge cloud. I thought it was going to be a dud of a morning so I wanted to leave. But Nolan told me to wait and be patient. Then within a half-hour there it was. God's performance again. That big orange ball rising up to start a new day. God how I love watching that miracle. I have written about it so many times and could write about it so many more times that it could be a whole book. Every time I am in just awe at how miraculous this process of renewal is. It is truly heaven on earth.

Which brings up Nolan and my conversation as we sat there on the beach with the water just reaching our toes. Out of no where he asked me what I thought heaven was like? I don't know why he brought it up, but I felt like God was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me to open up to him. So I answered, "I've never been there but I bet the sunrises are even more beautiful then this." He was quiet for about 15 seconds, probably processing what I just said and then he quietly said, "are you afraid to go to heaven mom? Because I know that is where you will go when you get way to sick". I really was way to sick to even begin to talk about this with him but I think God was telling me not to walk away from this conversation. I looked out into the ocean because I was afraid to look in those deep blue green eyes of his and I said very strongly, "Of course not. I imagine it to be the most peaceful and wonderfulest place ever."

We sat for awhile and then he started talking again but in a happy way. It's hard to described the tone of the conversation but it was not sad at all. It was not funny or happy but I guess peaceful. We started talking about things like what would dad do if I was not here anymore. He asked me if I would want dad to remarry. Then he jokingly said, "he would need to get some new manners, because sometimes Mom.....Ugh." The conversation just flowed naturally and it was very easy. Finally he asked the question that I hope I never know the answer to, "mom, how long until?" Until.....I knew what he meant. I'll I could answer was, "hopefully not for a long time." We sat for awhile longer then I could hear his stomach making some muffin want noises. We gathered our shells and towels and off we went.

When we got home everyone else was still sleeping and I was exhausted. So I woke Mark up sent him to outside to watch Nolan in the pool and went back to bed. Unfortunately the rest of the day I was useless. Mark and my mother took the boys to the beach and I stayed in bed only to get awaken every hour or so with phone calls from them checking on me. By the time they got home I was up and somewhat able to function. I swam a few laps and made some dinner for everyone and back to bed I went. Although, for most people yesterday would of seemed like a day of no accomplishments but for me it was a day of great peace. Sure I did not spend every minute surfing, building castles, playing volleyball or even just watching my boys do all that, but the time I spent in deep conversation with one of my boys was more then I could ever ask for.

Later that evening, I told him about the morning with Nolan. Of course he must put some rationalization onto why he brought up the subject. He even went as far as to say that maybe he read yesterdays post and wanted to bring it up. I truly believe it was just the force of God. It was the perfect time and perfect place for a conversation that needed to happen. This is just another example of how faith will lead you to the right path.