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
Friday, July 22, 2011
I have always said that the beginning of my sales career....the biggest sale I ever closed....was the plan I had to lay out and execute to woo the Warden's daughter. Every other challenge business can throw my way is a no-brainer in comparision. She has been my best friend , my inspiration, my voice of reason, my walking miracle ever since.
So today I don't reflect on treatments, appointments, medicine, or cancer. Today I celebrate the wonderful life that we have been blessed to share. Her smile is still wide, her nose still a little button, her eyes still bewitching. Her attitude still leaves no room for those that won't do the best they can. Her heart is as deep, her compassion as humbling, and her desire to push this man and this family forward as strong as ever.
So today as I recall the moments that make up the Kodak moments of our life together I can state that I love her more now than yesterday, and am thankful that she came into my life and decided to jump in the front car on this rollercoaster that we call life.
Sunny---Happy 16th....I love you
Friday, July 8, 2011
Pain, pain, pain is all I can say to describe the last few months. Deep down actual bone pain. In April I had the chemoembolization of the liver and after an eight week wait we saw some progress. So my docs and I were thrilled about that. However that was just one tumor in the liver. But on the bright side that was the largest. That was my fifth chemoembolization since the discovery of this monster and I have to say it knocked me on my butt until about two weeks ago. I was not able to keep food down, very weak, extreme fatigue, and pain in the liver
In the meantime I have been also having horrible pain in the legs and back. All areas that I have tumors but this pain was more then that. I have had the feeling that more then just cancer is going on. My oncologist sent me for a series of MRIs but the pain was so bad I only made it through the first scan for 12 minutes. Got some results....saw some new tumors....but still think that there is more going on. I started physical therapy, actually going with Austen who has had knee surgery, and it helped strengthen me but the pain did not get much better. Finally after 8 weeks of PT my therapist suggested I go see an orthopedic doctor that he recommends. I have an oncologist orthopedic doctor that I like but don't love. He did save my leg and everyone that speaks of him say he is amazing (as a doctor and surgeon). I have to agree he is a genius but I complained to him several times about the pain and he said it was what I will get from the hip and femur replacement. Of course that is not good enough for me. I will accept my cancer but pain is not something I can live with. Not to mention I am miserable and that effects my kids. So since my PT guy thought that I should see this one I went.
He was great. He did more XRays and came to his opinion very quickly. He feels that the rod that was put to replace my hip and femur is too large for my small frame. He saw that the pin to connect the two was tearing and leaning on my tendons. He also showed me a new bone or calcification growing in that area. He determined that this would cause even someone without cancer tremendous pain. We came up with a few options but I need to consult with a few other doctors to make sure the are options for me.
That is the news on the medical front in a summary version. As I read over the last few paragraphs I get a pit in my stomach. That pit is probably why I hate writing or talking about what is medically going on with me. I don't mind when people ask and I share as much as I can. I really despise seeing the words written down though. There is so much more that has been going on with this cancer but its so complicated I really want to keep it in my head for now.
On a good note our family summer is going great. Austen is healing from his reconstructive knee surgery. I have been taking it easy on the chemo for now and am planning on starting my Houston treatment in Sept as long as my blood counts are up. The boys will be in school and that will make things easier for those that are pitching in to watch them.
I want to close this post with hope. In going through the last few months I have not lost my hope. However I know that faith is truly what makes you hope become reality.