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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brighter Day in Basel

I figured I might try today's blog before the crack of two or three AM over here on the other side of the pond. To everyone who has continued to follow Sunny's journey you will be happy to hear that today went well. I am not claiming she was pain free, in fact from it, but the pain she experienced for the most part was closer to the ilk she experiences at home as opposed to the hell she went through Monday night and Tuesday morning. In fact when I left after dinner tonight(more on that inna bit) she had been off of the pain pump for several hours. I have seen prayers answered this week.

Our day began with a series of scans this morning at 0800 down in floor above the treatment dungeon one floor below ground. Martin deftly rolled her wheelchair and IV cart through one sliding glass door and the last and presto we were in the scan area waiting room. Er I mean waiting hall. Clean efficient and friendly, stocked with community bottled waters to pour into cups, abundant with magazines though English nein. When they say 0800 they mean 0800 and Sunny was back in the five minute body scan quick transition to the 20 minutes CT scan. She did great and we look forward to results. She originally was supposed to check out of Der hospitaal this morning but we already discussed it would be better to leave Thursday morning so we took red Lift back to Nuklear Medizin Zimmer 4-2.

The afternoon was spent catching up on some much needed rest. She has physically been through a lot this week and mentally it has been challenging to stay the least. I think of the scripture where we will be tested in order to get stronger...that tribulation brings perseverance which develops character leading to hope thorough faith. Sunny has certainly had a chance to build perserverance which is why her faith is so strong. I know that thorns on roses become buds and then flower...much like the "thorns" of our daily hurt if they don't hurt will eventually blossom into something spectacular. Here's one to living life with a vase full of a beautiful bouquet and not life with a thorny overgrown weed.

Dinner. I want to get back to that subject because it was worthy of it's own blog on how not to sustain a hospitaal patient on the road to recovery. As you recall, yesterday we ventured into the exciting culinary world of Swiss/Mex cuisine. Tonight Sunny was treated to the finest version of tatertot/crab cake/mystery dry baked ball surprise that resembled burnt browned bouncy balls than anything I would feed even to our dog...and some of you may know Oscar is not real choosy when it comes to his palate. They were served with a baked squash, or at least we think it was. It looked more like a baked potato with a sunburn. Now keep in mind one of the side effects of this treatment is acid indigestion and nausea. I mention that because they complimented the entrees with Mediterranean soup which looked like spicy minestrone and a side salad with zesty Italian two hard bran rolls(?) and an even harder pear. As Shaggy would say...zoinks. Time for a scooby snack.

So she got to eat pretzel sticks and und bread stick and almond biscotti from starbucks and banana and apple all from remember from 2009 thats the local Giant Eagle. Got to learn the meaning of another German or French sign checking out at COOP...apparently Binette and something else means Please go to other know the equivalent of "lane closed" or "I am going on my break stupid amerikan". Ah well travel and learn. I couldn't say anything if I could speak the language because Der Polizia were buying their coffee and donuts in line next to me before getting back on their bike patrols.

We just spoke and she is resting comfortably again so I want to take the time to share a few other little things Sunny and I have picked up on since returning here to Basel...

-All the taxis, police cars, firetrucks, ambulenzas, and sanititaation trucks are all Mercedes or Beamers...
-A Big Mac can cost 10 us dollars...
-Doctors can wear jeans when making rounds as long as they head up the department...
-Ice is frowned upon because even they are mere miles away from some of the freshest water and coldest Alp ranges I n the world refrigeeration is an issue....
-Smoking is not frowned fact even they put aborted fetus pictures on packs apparently...I even saw a poodle light up...
-Swiss cheese is not a room fact it is quite the opposite....
-Although all traffic stops to let pedestrians cross, everyone including 90 year old babushka sporting grandmas will knock an American over to get by on tram...
-Trains and buses have stops with signs where they use sensors en route to accurately predict the exact moment of PAT in Pittsburgh they use they same concept only it's on paper and it's to tell you what exact days your bus runs...
-These are a serious not often smiling bunch over here...probably like a sports bar in Baltimore last Sunday afternoon...
-They don't know what Tebowed is...but they have heard of Mitt....
-The occupy Basel crowd wears cheap Swiss watches costing under 2000francs($2500)...damn 1%...

Ah well I should save some for later in the week. Sunny fully intends to pick back up tomorrow so in case this is bye bye I want to say again thanks for following her story, for praying, and for helping in anyway you can. We are truly blessed.


PS WQED 360. THURSDAY 1/26 @ 7:30 PM. SUNNYVISION BEGINS. please watch and/ or record and enjoy.