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 29, 2011

Switzerland here we come

Mark, Dr. Friedland and I have finally made some decisions regarding my next set of treatments.  For awhile we were heading for the experimental LU177 in Houston, TX. Those treatments seem quite promising but are not FDA  approved and quite expensive.  After trying to save and come up with the money we decided that it may be better to head back to Basel, Switzerland and try the last Y90 treatment I have left.  I was supposed to receive this treatment after my last trip to Basel.  However, I was not invited back due to the way my body responded to the treatment.  Although, after some time the Y90 did keep me stable for about a year.  It did not shrink any of the tumors but kept them for growing for a good while.  We have been waiting to hear back from Switzerland after they declined me twice.  With a desperate plea for acceptance they finally decided to let me in.  Well as you all know the cancer is  invading again.  So we do not have time to wait until the Houston treatment becomes FDA approved (then insurance will cover it) or affordable.  The Switzerland treatment is not covered either but the cost is less then Houston.  Not to mention we have been there several time so Mark is more confident with the treatment.  I, on the other hand, was really hoping that we could swing the Houston treatment.  I just feel more comfortable being in the States. 

We have spent much time in pray over this decision and it seems that God is leading us to the Y90 treatment in Switzerland.  Sometimes we pray and pray for something that we think is the right choice for the Houston treatment.  But God seems to know what is best and leads us the other way.  I am a bit worried that the travel for me now with my pain and weakness is going to be a bit rough. I was hoping to get the Houston treatment for that reason...closer to home and easier flights. But the cost is making it impossible at this time.  So this is where true faith steps in.  I have to believe that God will protect me and make the trip as easy as possible.  I cannot let fear get in the way of staying alive. 
Mark and I are leaving January 5th.  I will enter the Basel hospital on Jan 9th to receive treatment.  We are not sure of the return date but know that it will be ASAP.  I have had much experience with this treatment and the severe side effects usually take about ten days to come into full force. So I would like to be home and not suck in a Swiss hotel when that happens.  Not to mention the kids need us home.  So as soon as I get the okay to come home I will be on the plane heading back to the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. 

Of course this is always subject to change when God has His hand on things.  The Houston treatment could become FDA approved and then my insurance will cover it.  We could hit the lottery and be able to afford it.  Or God could open other doors for us. Heck I could go for a scan and be completely cured.  Nothing is impossible with Him.  It has happen before.  But as of now we are set to go over the pond and get that magic potion. 

Please keep praying for me and my four boys. I'll keep fighting.

I also want to remind everyone of the Saturday book signing and spa treatment night at Bella Figura Spa from 6:30-9:00.  I will be speaking and signing books.  But the more exciting thing is several mini spa treatments available.  To purchase tickets please email  Their will be food and wine and fun.  I hope you can join us. 

Bella Figura Spa address
608 Main Street
Pittsburgh, Pa (Sharpesburg)