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
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
Monday, February 21, 2011
My doctors, Mark and I felt that these results were pretty good despite the new tumors and the growth on the bones, but when I started to share the news with my loved ones they seemed worried and anxious. So I've been reluctant on spreading the news any further without first explaining why we were happy with the results. We have been told over and over again that there is no cure for my cancer. When it hits the liver and bones then the growth speeds up and the prognosis is not good. We were told 2 1/2 years ago that six good months is what we should expect. Again and again we were told that there was nothing left in the US that could save me. When I say we, I mean Mark, my general oncologist and me. Since then I have been on several chemo/cancer drugs, I have gone to every specialist in the US that we could find, I have had 4 chemo embolizations, I have had experimental treatments in Switzerland, and I am hoping to be able to receive newer treatments in Houston TX soon. So a small amount of growth, a few new tumors and stability in the liver is exciting to us. It keeps me hanging on until the next thing comes along.
With my journey being so public I sometimes feel like I don't want to let those who are my supporters down. I don't want to be the one that is being worried about. I want to show strength and faith through my fight. I want to be an example to my children that all things are possible. I want to inspire them to not give up and know that when they come across their biggest hurdle they see how strong their faith can be. At times it can be impossible for others to see things like Mark and I see this battle because we are actually going through it on a day to day basis. After we got the results I felt like I was on cloud nine. In talking with Mark after we left the doc's office I slipped up and said something to him about this giving me a few more months maybe a year. I was happy with that....actually thrilled. He seemed shocked when I said that and looked even sad. After a few days he asked me why I am okay with a year and wondering if I gave up on being cured. I realized that I did. I was looking at this war as small battles to win instead of complete victory over the cancer.
So in the last few weeks instead of posting, I was finding my FULL faith again. I needed to start believing again that one day a cure will happen. I decided that everyday my pray would be for God to take the cancer out of my body instead of my old prayers of: get me through this treatment, take away my pain today, help me out of bed or help me to get to the next treatment I need. I began believing like I use to that "All is possible, if we just ask". With this renewal I went back to my Bible and started studying scriptures that will help me see the powers of faith. Then recently I have had others reach out me asking for pray for something they were going through. I have seen others win battles with cancer and began to hear remission stories. Opportunities to help people close to me started coming my way and the scriptures I found I used to help them. It was like a small snowball that kept rolling and growing as it rolled.
Last night I got a FB messaged from one of my FB friends that said: never give up- keep researching and researching, finding doctors who will work with you and most of all PRAY; visualize all the cancer leaving your body, close you eyes and visualize it leaving and believe it. So this morning that is exactly what I did and I will do that everyday. I will not settle for a good day anymore. My hope and faith will let me believe that despite what all the gurus of Carcinoid Cancer says I can go in remission. After all, I have the best of the best Doctor on my side.
I want to share the first scripture that I studied: "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces PERSEVERANCE; perseverance produces CHARACTER; and character produces HOPE. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Roman 5 3-5
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Her note went as follows:
I had to do a project for school and I came across this poem and thought of you :)Thank you Chelsea for the reminder that others are watching. I really needed that boost the other day.
Never Give Up
by Mark Howard
...I'll never give up fighting till the end
If I fall along the way I'll get up and try again
But never shall I accept the fact of defeat
I've set goals in life and those I must meet
But never will I let negativity hold me down
Those who think positive I keep them around
Never shall I dwell on things in the past
Bad times come but never do they last
I shall never give in to those who are weaker than I
If I give up now why not lay down and die
Never Give Up