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

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Always Thankful

How can I even began to list all that I am thankful for today?  Honestly, I feel like this day is just not fair for someone like me. When we go around the table to say what we are thankful for I want to pull out my six foot long scroll listing each and every blessing I have received this year.  Someone who has been given so much in the last three years can not possibly pick a few.  Of course the obvious is my life.  I was told May of 2008 that I was to prepare for a long six months, if I was lucky to have that left.  Here I am more then three years later able to enjoy my day with my amazing family.  Of course the past few years have not been rainbows, puppies and unicorns.  In fact they have been more difficult then I could ever imagine.  Especially the last few months.  But I am here another Thanksgiving so what else can I want? 

This is only the second year in the past twelve years that we were not in FL for Thanksgiving.  So of course Mark, the boys and I were missing our swim in the ocean right before we feasted on the dinner....especially Mark.  Tomorrow is his birthday and we always spend that day surfing and just loving the ocean.  However, its been a rough few months and I did not think I could make the trip. Not to mention we are trying hard to save for my new treatment.  I really regret it now.  Never again will I let this cancer stop me from that trip.  It is the one time of year that we are together with no interruptions.  We go to the beach, the pool, the boys and their cousins have a turkey bowel football game, we eat, and then play games that night.  Minimum TV stations and no Internet.  Just the simple life of forcing three teenagers to spend time with their parents.  Simple to us....not so much for them.    Its been an empty feeling all day.  But we are still just happy to be together. 

Tomorrow is Mark's 41st Birthday.  He's got the whole day planned in between basketball and soccer practice which he reminds me the boys would be missing if we were in FL.  We are then going to do a big tail gate party with the Back-yard brawl....Pitt and WV.  I pulled all the boys aside yesterday and told them that there is to be no plans made for their busy social lives and no mention of what they will be missing tomorrow.  Its dad's day and nothing else.  Truly its kinda of dad's week.  He really does milk the whole birthday to a birthweek.  But he does deserve it. 

As I said Thanksgiving is a day that people like me don't need.  We don't need a day to remember all the blessing we have, we see them right in front of us everyday.  When you are fighting to stay alive every little thing seems to be huge.  Every well wish, act of kindness, beautiful flower or sunset, every hug that is given to you, every tear that is shed for you and every pray that is said I appreciate.  When I have a day like today and I can get out of bed and control my pain, go to Grandma's for dinner, sit with a nephew and reminisce, get a hug from a brother, or have a son tell you that you look good I have moments that you know you must be thankful for. When you arrive at dinner and everyone is happy you made it.  When you see your children's smiling faces and having a good time with their family.  When a niece tells you her Christmas list.   It's again "THE GOOD IN CANCER".  So yes Thanksgiving is an important day to count your blessing and have somethings to say when its your turn at the dinner table.  But for me everyday is Thanksgiving because I am so thankful for every little thing. 

Happy Everyday,