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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Basel-Round Three-Mark Pinchhits

Well the treatment is over. After what seems like months of planning, fundraising, praying and nervously anticipating....the injection was done and over with early this afternoon. The trip over to the hospital this morning brought back a flood of memories...everything was like it was back in some kind of Swiss time warp. I think the same doctors were outside the hospitaal smoking like chimneys next to the same 100 or so bicycles and mopeds as before. Sunny was eager yet understandably apprehensive as we zoomed through the lobby adorned with the latest in Ikea's hospitaal collection. We both instinctly knew what set of "lifts" would take us to the fourth floor...Nuklearmedicine. Unit 4-2. Same ease of checking of wait...right into her private room decorated in vintage "this furniture guaranteed to survive even the strongest of radioactive exposure...comfort optional" line. Our two favorite Swiss nurses Pierre and Martin were still in charge and honestly seeing their faces was in some goofy way reassuring. They knew Sunny. They had notes from 2009 trips about follow up care and how they had best managed her pain and nausea. Pretty impressive.

The young doctor...a Dr Mars... I kid you not...was very thorough and answered every question regarding the injection and process afterwards. I think at one point he was paged because he was late for recess...and I only say that because Doogie Howser is John McCain compared to how young the good dr appeared. But as I mentioned he was thorough...the injections...the first scan which would be done at nine on Tuesday morning ...the second series of scans on Wed morn and if all went well back to our little enclave at Swissotel. After putting the IV Amino drip in to protract the kidneys while Sunny got "nuclear" the good dr mars left and Pierre returned to review meal options. Let's just say I didn't know what "jacket potatoes" are and this afternoon's lunch gave sunny no answer either. Apparently beets...ground chuck and mayo consist of the ingredients with fried potatoes chunks....I don't believe that campbell's will be calling for this secret recipe anytime soon. Anyways...Pierre did the rest of the meal selection with her and it was time to go for me and time to go to the bowels of the hospital for her....floor -2. Two levels below the main floor.

Thank goodness I had our buddy Peter who once again was kind enough to drive down from Holland to hang with because it really is possible to feel alone in a city of fifty thousand or more. At least knowing the basics of the routine Sunny would be going through takes away some of the angst. She called a little after three wanting some real food and Coke Lights dropped off because of the aforementioned potato surprise lunch. When I got into her room she Pierre was in there taking out the IV drip and talking to Sunny about a near death heart attack experience he had. How it had given him a glimpse into his faith and that though he was growing in his walk with God he sensed in Sunny the presence of the holy spirit. It was a pretty amazing moment to hear our short slightly balding neon croc wearing Germsn lisp speaking English nurse have this conversation with Sunny. I guess neither one of us had ever really thought about God fearing Europeans on our previous trips because though there are spectacular centuries old churches abundant in Basel...some are museums some are restaurants and none seem to jump out at you and say come worship here. It was surely not a coincidence that Pierre who says is constantly looking to grow "in the spirit" was on today and was Sunny's nurse. A certain favorite pastor of ours back home always says "you go no place by accident that wherever you go God has not only brought you there but more importantly he is with you there". Trust me when I share that this was never more visible to us than right at that moment.

Sunny looked good considering every thing she has gone through but they were concerned with her blood count and weight loss. They will be monitoring tonight and throughout closely. After resting a little this afternoon Pete and I dropped off some dinner and more Coke Light and I was able to see her pain was increasing a touch but her spunk was still there. As the evening wore on and turned into night and then late night the pain has definitely ratcheted up. we have been on the phone quite a bit trying to help her keep her mind off of it. I can tell it sucks. that is the primary reason why this blog is so late in coming and may seem a bit scatterbrained. All I can say is that I will try blogging for our Sunshine again tomorrow but in the meantime please pray for her. And then say one more. And don't forget to add in the boys back home with Grandma as they go about their day.

Thanks to all of you in advance and thanks to everyone back home who is driving Carney boys around...dropping off meals...and just offering to help in anyway. It is truly a blessing for Sunny to not have to dwell on those things.

Finally...and I promise this really is it...a certain other pastor who I watch and read regularly believes that we should rejoice in our tribulations because it is through our "mess" whatever it may be that we form our "message". Sums it up pretty well. Talk to yunz tomorrow.