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
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
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The whole pregnancy I was in disbelief. I don't think I really knew or wanted to imagine how wonderful my life would change when he was born. I did everything the doc told me and more to stay healthy while I was carrying him. However, I don't think I believed it was actually happening until I held him for the first time on September 19, 1996 at 7:58 P.M.. Mark was jumping up and down because it was a boy, my dad was thrilled that he had another grandson to add to his sports addicted family and I was just so in love with this perfect huge baby. Insistently I knew that this baby was my miracle from God. He looked up at me with those big blue eyes as if to say, "I'm safe right here.". I see that look every once and a while now and it brings me right back to that day. It was truly one of those perfect Hallmark moments.
Since that day fourteen years ago my life has had many peaks and valley. I have gone through more in those fourteen years then some will ever go through in a lifetime. But one thing that remains constant is my will to be the best mother to all three of the miracles God has given me. Some might say that my boys have been given a raw deal in life because they have a mom that has an incurable cancer. But I believe that they are truly blessed that they have a mom that is so thankful for them that she realizes how blessed she is. Sure their time with me may one day be cut short but I am determined to make everyday count to them when I am here.
When I hugged Austen this morning I did not want to let go. Of course he hugged me back quickly and went on to the box of special birthday donuts I surprise him with every year. The only surprise he would have is if I did not sneak to Oakmont Bakery at 6 am on his birthday. I mentioned to him that the day he was born was one of the three happiest days of my life. He smiled and then said, "it was the first of the three happiest day of your life". I made a big fuss over how special this day is for him and all of us. Then I kissed him on the head (he was sitting down because he is several inches taller then me) and I started to walk out of the kitchen to let him eat in peace. As I was walking by him he gave me that same look he gave me the first day of his life but added a big smile to it. His smile reaches from ear to ear. I knew then that he felt safe and happy no matter what cancer brings us. Today was his birthday and that was all that matter.
Yes September 19th is Austen's very own special day, but it is my very own special day too. It is the day that I opened my eyes to God's abilities. It is the day that changed my life forever.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Last night in Pittsburgh God gave us a laser show in the sky. Along with that show came a loud concert of thunder and a cool down of rain. I love thunderstorms especially at night when you are snug in bed and the blankets are wrapped around you like a big hug. I have this huge desire to open all the windows and just let the rain and wind come pouring in. Mark would never approve of that though. He would be yapping about the hardwood floors getting destroyed and the bugs coming in. But one time I am just going to do it. I am just going to let it all in and feel that cool breeze and strong wind. It'll drive him crazy and probably piss him off but I am going to do it. Why do we always run out of the rain or slam the windows shut so quickly? What are we afraid of? Some water or getting wet? I never understand why we must rush out of an actual storm instead of just awing in its grander? Why don't we just let it be and enjoy it?
One at a time the boys came into the room to check on me and see if I had a flashlight for them. Mark was out and he is the one that knows were the flashlights are so I told them to just hang out until Dad got home. They sat at the end of my bed and started wrestling around (yes in the dark) and chatting. After they calmed down, Nolan began to talk about how cool it is when the lightening lights up the entire room. The conversation started to turn towards how cool it is that God can make the whole sky light up. Okay, I turned the conversation. Austen and Logan started to get that teenage boredom and uncomfortableness with the turn of the wrestling to a long talk so they started to walk out of the room. That is when I just had to say to them, "you know sometimes we think that our problems are so big that it seems like nothing will fix them. Then we see this amazing night and we realize that God is bigger then any situation or problem we could possibly have". They gave me a quiet ya and off to bed they went. Leaving their little brother behind to listen to the rest of the lecture.
Nolan and I just sat there quietly giving a wow each time we saw a strike of lightening. I'm wondering if they got what I was saying or they just humored me when they answered me? Whatever the case may be, someday that comment may come in handy for them. I hope they remember last night and exactly when they heard it. I hope that they know that this is how I fought my battle....pure faith in HIM. I hope I planted the seed so if or when I am not around they can realize how amazing and powerful our God can be. I hope they learned from that one simple sentence that nothing is impossible with faith.
Another Good In Cancer: the ability to see God's power in a simple thunderstorm.
"Don't tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your GOD is."