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
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Now the medical side is summed up pretty quickly. I know that many who read my blog want more about my medical and physical treatments. However, I just have the hardest time giving my energy in writing about it. I do want to tell you that over the last three weeks I once again have found that I am so blessed with so many people helping us out. Several times I am asked "how I do what I do?" and I have to tell you that I cannot get through these treatments without all the help I received. My family basically taken over my three boys crazy schedule, dinners sent to my home so that my men were fed, rides for the boys to all their activities so that Mark could be with me, cards sent just when I needed them and mostly the enormous amounts of prays being said especially on April 1st and 2nd. I wonder often how I can be so blessed to have so many people care about me and my boys. Just knowing that Mark can send out one message and have hundreds spreading the word to pray for me is better then any medicine. It may sound cheesy but I often wonder why I am so lucky to have so much love? At one point going through this torturous treatment I said to Mark, "our boys will be okay no matter what happens to me". He looked and shook his head yes with such conviction. Because I know that the I planted the seeds with them and that they have a amazing family and huge support system in our community. Knowing that helps me focus on just beating the hell out of this cancer.
I also wanted to let everyone know that on May 7th at Nesbits Bowling Alley in Plum a group of friends are holding a bowl-a-thon. This is exactly what I am talking about when I say love. The details are above and they are asking that you please register soon. I am so humbled by their efforts to keep me fighting. I truly hope you can all participate.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
It actually reached the brief moment that both of us in the midst of praying asked God if couldn't help the pain then maybe it was better if he just took her. I know that seems impossible to believe knowing how hard she fights, but this was absolutely the worst night of the entire "Cancer" journey yet. Thank God that he had other ideas and in the morning when the Liver Dr came in, she began to rectify the situation and as it turned out, was a fellow believer in the hands that are bigger than any doctors could ever be. We remember a nurses aide, Indian I think, coming in around four in the morning, just because she felt so bad for Sunny listening to her cry from down the hall, that she wanted to offer anything to help comfort, pop, ice, and then prayer. It was touching and I think somehow showed both of us to keep the faith, that He hadn't finished with Sunny just yet. Then Sunday morning an intern from Sunny's liver doctors practice came in to check on her. She was amazed at Sunny's turn around because she was the same intern on Saturday morning when the pain was at it's worse. Not knowing by then who helped her get things under control I think she was the one that finally order the pain pump that was to be order in the begin. The subject of faith came up and she asked Sunny what church she went too. She then said that seeing Sunny sitting on the edge of the bed praying confirmed her faith. There is more to that story but I will save that for Sunny.
So much for not going into detail. Now as I write this blog for her Tuesday evening, she has been sitting with the kids and her mother, has played a board game or two with Logan, has helped with studying, has watched Dancing With the Stars, and all in all the positive "sunny " attitude is back even if her body isn't completely just yet. She is sick to her stomach and has not been able to eat much. She has the usual side effects of the shakes, nausua, stomach issues and PAIN. But she is Sunny. She's exhausted but she still has her fight.
I want to say thanks on her behalf and the rest of our family for all of the dinners, the soup, the cards which arrive daily, the offers to help with the kids and their activities, and of course all of the prayers. Looking back on the past couple of days, there was a moment of desperation that has been followed by a reassuring sense that He most definitely is still in charge of all this. And that enables her to keep on fighting to first recover from the treatment, and focus on beating the disease.
So keep us (especially her) in your thoughts and prayers and remember that even in your lowest moment , when you don't think or feel you can go on, that its not really your call. So refocus on Him , your family, your life, and all of things that are important, and stay positive and enjoy every chance you have to make a difference.