SUNNY CARNEY
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, November 16, 2010

Ashamed

I spent the day today fighting with my insurance company because they refuse to cover a chemotherapy medicine because it is not FDA approved for carcinoid cancer.  However, there has been several hundred proven cases that this medicine has been very successful in shrinking carcinoid tumors in patient..... me included. I would go into the specifics about the med and the reasons HighMark gave me for not covering it but that is not the purpose of my post tonight. After battling for hours and being on hold for even more time then that, I became very frustrated and extremely miserable to everyone that crossed my path. As I was cleaning the kitchen mess from tonight's dinner all three boys came into the kitchen one at time asking me if I could help them study for a few tests that each one of them have tomorrow.  I of course said yes but really deep down dread sitting down all night studying Civics, Earth Science, Algebra, Advanced English, Social Studies and whatever else with three boys that know more then I do on these subjects. I started quietly complaining to Mark that my day was terrible and my night seems to be going on the same path.  I could feel the "Nasty Sunny" just climbing inside of me ready to burst out on someone.  I needed to "get my needs met" as Mark calls it but the only ones that deserve a "Sunny Smackdown" were the insurance "who knows" that declined my medicine. Truthfully I don't know where to find those people. 

Mark turned the stereo on in the house and turned it to this contemporary Christian station that I sometimes listen to when I am getting everyone out the door in the morning. I think he thought I needed a little God in me.  It's not the station of choose for my "rock n roll" boys but it has an hour of  inspirational stories on in the mornings that I like the boys to hear as they moan about getting up and going to school.  As I was slamming the dishes in the dishwasher for the third time today a woman called into the station asking for prayer.  The woman's neighbor had just lost her 15 year old son.  He was playing football and got hit in the chest during a tackle.  My heart just sank for her.  I literally stood there motionless for a minute or two. I don't know this woman or even what State she lives in but I felt this horrible heart ache come over me for her.  I almost wished I did know her so I could reach out and someway comfort her.  But truly nothing anyone can do will comfort her right now.  Having three teenage boys myself I could not imagine her pain.  Mark came into the kitchen and asked me if I heard the story on the radio.  By the look on my face he knew I heard it.

I feel so self-centered and self-absorbed.  I am so consumed sometimes with my own battle for life that I don't realize that so many others are hurting too. Sure I pray for people every night.  I have a list in my Bible by my bed of everyone that needs pray.  I pray for everyone on that list but I then go on about my problems. I know that we all do this so.... it's not just me.  I am just admitting it right now. However, I can not help to think right now does it matter to this woman that just lost her son, that the kitchen is a mess again for the third time in one day?  What she would do to study just one more time with her son?  So I spent the day fighting with my insurance company and losing the fight.  I had the day to do that.  Yes it may cost me more money or add to my bills but I have my life and most of all my sons.  I have never really thought of my self as selfish but maybe that's because selfish people don't really see themselves that way.  All I know is that I feel like hanging my head in shame.  I have no right to complain.  I may be fighting this battle of cancer but I have been so very blessed through the entire journey.

I never listen to the radio at that time of the day.  Usually when I am cleaning the kitchen..... wait I don't always clean the kitchen after dinner, the boys do that.  I don't want to say that it was a "shape up Sunny" sign from God but at that time it sure was what I needed.  There is always someone in this world that has things rougher then the next.  I am ashamed of my nastiness, but mostly of thinking that my problems are more important or more urgent then anyone else's problems.  I was complaining and whining about meds not covered, time wasted all day, studying with the best boys ever, cleaning a kitchen and who knows what else while there is a woman that is out there somewhere planning a funeral for her 15 year old son.  Ashamed I am. 

I think Mark thought he knew what I was thinking by the expression on my face.  He looked at me and said, "we are so lucky that our boys are with us right now".  That is not what I was thinking, however.  I was thinking, "I need the 'Sunny Smackdown' and I need to bow and thank God for this day.  No matter what happen".

Sunny