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, June 4, 2010

This post is well overdue. I know it's been three weeks since my last published post. I have written several entries but truly felt they were too deep and personal to share. I have been receiving email after email asking me if all is okay. To be honest it's been a really rough month physically. I know that I need to catch everyone up on my scans, the findings and my treatments but if I don't share with you my Friday morning I may just burst. Today I was hit with the reality of why I fight this cancer battle.

The last week has been a bitter sweet week for me. Tuesday I had a double treatment which has been really tearing me apart physically. The boys are ending another school year which has been tearing me up emotionally. I love my summers home with them in fact I love them home any time with me. Also, I am thrilled that I am here to see my boys move on to another year in school because after my diagnosis I was told that I would never see these days. Mostly I am so proud of each one them and the accomplishments they have made this school year. But like any mother, with or without cancer, I am sad that my babies are moving closer to not needing me anymore. They are one year older and one year smarter. Soon they will not need me to study with them or help them with that ridiculously difficult project that no child does ALL BY HIMSELF. Each year they are growing more independent and self sufficient. The need for "MOM" is quickly going away and the need for friends is replacing me. The little blue eyed freckle face boys are now growing up to be handsome teenagers with girls following behind them. Their hugs that use to knock me over are becoming more of a light quick tap from a boy that is taller then me now. Bitter sweet in so many ways.

However on Friday my two youngest participated in a school talent show and it reminded me how I can still share in their joy without always being needed. They are officially musician now with Logan banging on drums and Nolan jamming on his electric guitar, sometimes Austen joins in on drums and keyboard. After this last diagnosis and the grim news that the doctors told me of my destiny, I joined them up for lessons so that they would have something they can do that will bring them together if I was not here to force it. Never in my wildest dreams though did I ever imagine that they would actually sound amazing enough in a year in a half to preform together in front of almost 500 of their peers. All I can add is that they rocked the house with the children chanting more more more. They ended up playing four songs with Logan flipping his drum sticks and spinning on his stool and Nolan playing behind his back and sliding across the floor. As Mark and I sat in the back of the school auditorium holding hands we both had tears rolling down our face and for once my husband was completely speechless. The pride in Mark's eyes was worth a million dollars to me.

As I stood in the back listening to their final rendition of "Born to be Wild" and watching the front of the stage covered with their classmates dancing and chanting their names I realized what cancer has done for our family. I felt reconfirmed that my fight may not 100% be for Mark and the boys anymore because they are going to be okay now without me. But that this battle I am is now for ME. I cannot miss my children's accomplishments as they go through their life. I have worked so hard to make these wild boys into amazing teenagers and it is now my time to sit back and enjoy me good work. The whole day I felt like I was walking on a cloud. Those boys that sat on our couch a year and a half ago clinging to me with rolling tears down their baby faces as we told them "THE NEWS" of mommies illness are fine now. They are strong and ready to tackle the world with me just slightly leading them in the right direction. They overcame my cancer and actually learned from my battle. They will be okay when the day comes.

Me on the hand, needs to be here to see them experience the grandest of life. I need to see their smiles so big that their faces hurt. Cancer has taught us that days like Friday is a battle won as we fight this war. This again is the "Good in Cancer". My boys have learned that if they give something their all and not quit on your dreams they can accomplish anything. But more importantly they have learned to lean on each other and work together. I understand that a song does not work with out all the instruments and a family does not work without each other. That night Nolan came up to me and said, "Mom, thanks for getting me lessons. I know that it is expensive and you worry about paying for them......but thanks." They are starting to get that living is more then just having a is making the most of that life.

Sorry for the delay in post and I promise you this week I will catch everyone up on my "Cancer" battle. I really just had to share the "Good in Cancer" to remind myself that quitting is not an option.