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

Friday, December 9, 2011

How long

It's 3:20 in the morning and I have been up since 2:00.  In that hour in 20 minutes I have prayed, taken a shower, facebooked a little, prayed again,  heard my youngest wake because he heard me yell in pain, took some pain meds and then finally my mind started to wonder.  When this happens no matter what the pain is I have to stop it.  I can not let my mind take over my fight.  The house is dark, everyone is sleeping (except the ones I wake for a bit but they fall back to sleep), and its lonely.  This is when i have to appreciate my alone time with God.  This is also when I become so tired of my battle. 

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 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!!!!.