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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Net Cancer Awareness Day thank you!

Thursday, November 10th was World Net (neuroendrocrine or carcinoid) Cancer Day. I reached out to all my family and friends asking them to please help me raise awareness. It is so important to raise awareness of the misdiagnosed cancer. Many expert say neuroendrocrine carcinoid cancer is a rare cancer because the number of those suffering are less then 1% of all the other cancer. I truly believe it is less rarer then thought to be. I think that because it's such a difficult cancer to detect it is often missed or misdiagnosed. In fact the slogan for Net cancer is "if you don't suspect you can't detect". I think that many cancer patients actually have carcinoid cancer however doctors don't test for it and name it the cancer of the organ that the cancer effects. For example when I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1994 I was told I had ovarian cancer. I had my ovary removed and a quick course of chemo and on my way. Then a year later it returned in the other ovary.  The doctor was very careful and removed the tumor, left the damage ovary, small course of chemo and again on my way.   I was then told I was cancer free. Only to have it return years later in my lung. I was not being scanned anymore  because it had been over five years. I had lost my lung because I was diagnosed to late to save it. The cancer had engulfed almost my entire lung. I don't want to get into my story you can read it here on the blog or in my book. But I want to stress that it is important to have every tumor tested for carcinoid. If I was diagnosed correctly in the very beginning I could of manage this cancer and would never be as far as I am now.  I don't want anyone to suffer because of doctors that are not knowledgeable of this cancer and don't test for it.  There is no cure at this time for carcinoid cancer however, it can be managed if it does not get to stage four like mine.  Now I feel like an hour glass and the sand is running faster and faster everyday. 
As I said I reached out to all my friends and family asking them to support me on November 10th and wear black and white or even better zebra print for the day. I also told them to make sure they tell everyone why they are dressed that way and explain to them what carcinoid cancer is. Once again I should not be surprised, but I was, the out pour of love for me was amazing. I am still in awe and drying the tears from my eyes at the number of people who stepped up to the plate for me again. My phone was going crazy all day with text messages of photos of people in their black and white, zebra prints or my "Sunny Team" tshirts. My facebook friends changed their profile pictures to the black and white carcinoid ribbon in my honor. I had even had a few people have their place of work participate in the awareness day too. All of them sending me photos. My eight year old niece brought my book into her classroom and while dressed in her "Sunny Team" shirt told her whole class about me and carcinoid cancer. I had Sunny Carcinoid Supporters all over the US and even one in Switzerland. The bartender at the hotel I stayed at when I got my treatments sent me a email telling me he wore his wife's zebra head band for me. The zebras were galloping around in California, New York, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Maine, Nevada, Hawaii, St. Thomas and of course Pennsylvania (I hope I didn't miss anywhere) raising the awareness for NET cancer in my honor. I know I have said this over and over again, I hope no one ever gets sick of hearing it, but days like these are why I fight so damn hard. How could I ever give up when all those that love me are never giving up on "loving me through" this cancer?

Again I am reaching out to say thank you. Thank you for being part of my battle. I was speaking at my last book signing and I said, "when you are diagnosed with cancer everyone who loves you is diagnosed too". I did not realize that when I was first diagnosed; I thought I could fight it all on my own. I was tough and I did not need to bother anyone with my battle. I would go around faking that I was fine and I was handling this cancer war all by myself. I am not sure how long I went on like but I believe it was the words of Pastor Frank that kinda planted that seed that I need to accept help. In one of our conversation I told him that I was feeling so uncomfortable with all the donations, meals and offers to help me. He looked at me straight in my face and said, "if you don't let others in your life right now you are denying them the opportunity to be blessed". Well being that I have this huge fear of hurting any one's feelings I started to let others join my cancer battle team. Even though many tell me that they are blessed to be helping me I know that I could never of got this far without each one of you cheering me on. Thank you!!!!

I have made some huge decisions on my treatment plan this week and after I get all the "T's" crossed and "I's" dotted I will fill everyone in. I am asking for more prayer that Mark and I are heading in the right path and that all the finances line up so we can take a big leap in some experimental treatments. My mind is spinning and time is running out so we need to wrap this all up.  Another thing I have learned in the past few years of my journey is that nothing I have been through I have done alone. Yes I have a great support group which gets bigger and bigger every minute but God is right there always. Prayer is what leads me to the answers....not just my little prays but all those who pray for me.  God hears you.  So please in the next few days pray that all the decisions we make are made because God lead us to them and that they become possible.


Just a few of many pictures I got.