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, December 27, 2011

Christmas Time

This week I have seen so many beautiful moments and I want to share them with you all.  It's the Holiday Season so yes things seem a little sweeter and more majestic when they happen this time of year.  I think we all want to believe that Christmas time comes with miracle, kindness and joy; but I have seen some astonishing things happen all year long its more heartwarming when it happens during the Christmas season.   Like when it snows on Christmas, that snow fall is just a little more special then a regular winter snow.   So as I was sitting in front of the computer collecting my thoughts it came to me that this was a week of so many breathtaking moments.  So I think I will continue that breathtaking moment post I started and keep adding to almost two years ago.  Breathtaking moments of Christmas week are as follows:

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".