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.
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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
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
1. Wondering why I did not get my teens Christmas list. Then when I finally beg them to tell me what they would like for Christmas the admitted that the three of them agreed to not ask for anything so I could use the money to go to Switzerland. Do they think I would totally forget Christmas gifts for them???? Never!!! I enjoy giving them way more then they enjoy getting them. I love this time of year.
2. Have a good friend and wonderful Chiropractor donate a week of service to my fund so I can make it to Switzerland.
3. Receiving a card in the mail from Santa.
4. Dropping off 20 blankets to a nursing home and seeing the patients so happy to see me. Visiting with those patients and enjoying their amazing stories.
5. Being included in a cookie exchange and never having to bake one cookie. I was just thought of because and I have to say they were the best cookies ever.
6. Having a book signing in my old neighborhood of Greenfield and it being so packed that you could not move. Seeing half the people at the book signing from my Plum neighborhood. They drove all the way to support me.
7. Sitting in Christmas Eve service with another wonderful family and feeling the spirit of God coming to all of us.
8. Watching my men singing at service.
9. Watching my boys exchange the gifts the bought for each other. Seeing more excitement about them giving their brothers the gift they spent so much time picking out then receiving the gifts they got.
10. Spending Christmas Eve with just my four men and enjoy it. Church, a few gifts, eating, and movie. Watching my boys actually enjoy being with each other.
11. Open the three presents that my boys planned together and picked out for me. They bought me charms for my bracelet and each one was so well thought of.
12. Being told, "this was the best Christmas ever Mom". I told them they say that every year. They responded, "that means it gets better every year, mom". And I was feeling guilty.
13. Sitting in chemo three days before Christmas watching each patient wait for their blood count results. Seeing smiles on their faces when told that they are good enough to be around people. Seeing some with tears in their eyes for other reasons can be breathtaking too.
14. Having an elderly man come into the chemo center dressed like Santa handing out candy to all the patients. I was told by the nurse that he has been a volunteer for three years, ever since his wife passed from cancer. The smile on his face was so real but it was one of the smiles that many of us cancer fighters (when I say fighters I mean all those that love those fighting too) put on to hide the tears they are holding back. I have those smiles many times too.
15. Sharing a room with a lady that there for her LAST treatment. She was told last week that the new set of scans showed no evidence of cancer. She was cancer free for Christmas.
16. Receiving a beautiful note on Christmas day from my niece, telling me she admires me.
17. Spending the entire day with my entire family and EVERYONE home for the holidays. Seeing my mom so happy to have all her children and grandchildren together.
18. Spending last evening with my boys at the Globe Trotter game. We had so much fun together and I made it through the entire night without crying in pain. I paid for it all evening but it was so worth the "no sleep night of pain".
19. Receiving a very very special Christmas present. You know who you are???? Breathtaking!
20. Sitting in the dark living room with just the Christmas tree lit and jammed packed with ornaments. Looking at each and every ornament and remember each meaning that goes with the ornament. First yr of marriage, baby's 1st Christmas, new home, Disney vacation ornaments, Basketballs, footballs, baseball, soccer and hockey ones, angels with the words hope, believe and faith, many homemade photo ones, and so many more.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away"
Please Tune in on December 29, at 9am to you TVs. I will be on live "The Pittsburgh Today Show".
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Seeing the man that Logan is becoming makes me so grateful that I did fight everyday to be here. He is strong and sensitive. He is kind yet tough. He is smart and funny. He is amazing just the way God intended him to be. In the craziness of my day today I find a minute to think about everything I want him to know before he becomes an adult man. Things that many moms can teach as the years go by. I however feel this urgent need to speed up that process and teach him now. Like:
1. Life is not easy but so worth it. So give it your all and never quit on living it.
2. Treat everyone you meet as if they are your best friend. You never know what could happen.
3. Respect yourself and know that you are worth it. Respect your peers even if you don't agree with them. Respect your elders they, earned that right.
4. Never think life has cheated you or has been unfair to you. Life is what you make it everyday no matter what obstacles are put in front of you.
5. If you are waiting to be happy when life is perfect then you will never be happy. And oh what joy you will miss if you are not happy. Happiness is one thing you can give yourself.
6. Love the Lord, then yourself, then your family, and then everyone else will be easy to love.
7. No matter how angry your brothers make you and how much you want them to go away know that they are the only ones that wont run away when you need them the most. Family is more valuable then all the riches in the world. See the good in the boys that you share a home with.
8. Fight for what's worth fighting for and walk awayfrom fights that aren't worth it.
9. Remember that no matter how hard life seems and how hopeless the outcome looks anything is possible through faith in the Lord.
10. For now, last but most importantly know that you can always come home to were you have unconditional love.
Logan is one of the four reasons I get up every morning. His birthday is a special day. I remember the day he was born as clear as the day itself. Everyday that I am here, no matter hard or easy, is as special as the day my sons where born. I am so glad that cancer has taught me that. "The Good in Cancer".
Happy Birthday my son.!!!!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
563 Greenfield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
Friday, December 9, 2011
When I was praying tonight a begged that he take my pain away and give me tomorrow pain free. I am having some oral surgery because the chemo I have been on is doing some damage to my jaw and teeth. I really want to get through this without my bone pain. I prayed for those on my list that I have written on a long piece of paper stashed in my Bible. I am sure many of you are on that list. I then of course prayed for my boys. This time a little more for my youngest who has been sad lately. I thank the Lord for all the amazing blessing he has given me despite my cancer or through my cancer. I always end with asking that He guide me in making good choices is my life. Last night however, I prayed that God will tell me how much longer I need to suffer and fight.
It may sound like a negative thought. But it is not. I am so going to fight forever if God wants me to, but I just wondered tonight if I will know when it's time to stop fighting. I have wondered this before. In fact I have even talked to my pastor about this exact topic. "How long until it's too Long?" or "when will I know its time to stop fighting". Sounds horrible to have to think about this but I think I know the answer. I think God will tell me when he is ready for me. I am not afraid to die at all. I am afraid to leave my boys, Mark, my Mom and siblings, and my friends when they need me to be here. But I know that there is a fantastic place waiting for me.
After I was done praying it accrued to me that I am not done fighting. God has things for me to do here. At times it is hard and exhausting but it is His will. I believe I will know when I am done. I think my mind went to this because on Wed. when I was at chemo one of the nurses was talking to me about my book. She has been reading it and wanted to ask me about some of the things in it. She asked me if I ever want to give up. Truthfully I could not answer her..... I wasn't sure. She said that she wished she would of had a copy when her sister was fighting cancer. She told me that her sister and some of her patients seem so tired. They just want to stop fighting. As she was talking to me her eyes filled with tears. Mine did too. I told her I know exactly how they feel but God let's us know when we can quit and maybe God was telling them that. She hugged me tight and I didn't pull back in pain because I know she needed it. I can't imagine her life as a chemo nurse and having a sister that just past from cancer. How her heart must hurt. After we hugged she ask me how to pray. I was taken back.....how to pray? I told her just talk to Him.
I got called into the room and she walked away. I hope I said the right thing. As I was sitting waiting for my drug I thought of something and I wrote it down. On the way out I handed her the paper and gently hugged her this time. I don't want to tell you what I wrote but it was not my words it was just words that popped in my head. Let's just say we all can talk to Him but we need to Hear Him TOO!!!!.
Friday, December 2, 2011
I have been getting many emails about where and when is my next book signings. Here are the ones in December:
12/3/11 Bella Figura Spa - Enjoy mini spa treatments and we will have a book discussion
6:30 - 9:30
608 Main Street
Pittsburgh, Pa (Sharpesburg)
12/10/11 Barnes and Nobles in The Warterfront - book signing and a small reading from the book
100 West Bridge Street
Homestead, PA 15120
12/22/11 Christmas Party and book signing at Hough's Bar and Micro Brewer - Food and nonacohlic drinks for $20. Great night out before the Holiday. Great Chinese Auction. Invite all your friends for a get together. Alcohol available and amazing beers.
563 Greenfield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
I really hope to see some of you there.