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
Friday, January 27, 2012
Today is Friday and TGIF has never meant more than on this particular one. Sunny has had an up and down day, but the ups were a little higher than yesterday and the downs were a little less severe. Today's big challenge has been trying to keep food down. This is a common side effect from the treatments the previous two trips as well as treatments back home. The pain she has suffered from in the back and hip in particular is also a good sign that the injection is taking. However it is somewhat possible that the HD Swiss sleeping "komfort" kit plays a part as well. HD...as in hard damn...I have never actually slept at a four star hotel where the queen beds consisted of two small Euro size singles pushed together. And box springs...that must be a term they know only has a mechanism to open a Jack in Der box. On the flip side the service has been tremendous from the front desk and all the way around since the moment they rushed to get us an early checkin last Saturday.
It's hard to fathom that a week has gone by. This truly has been a roller coaster of a ride straining the emotional edges to the point of fraying past the point of no return to physically taking Sunny to the limits of her sanity to get by. Reading I Corinthians 12 two nights ago I was struck by something Paul wrote regarding the gifts of the Spirit. Wisdom was first and knowledge and then faith...all gifts from the same Spirit...of course others followed. Sunny is often a little embarrassed regarding some of the hoopla around her story...she is often genuinely confused as to why others want to help her because she has inspired them in some way...and I think I have finally got insight. God has gifted each of us uniquely and we are held accountable to use those gifts so he gets the glory. By choosing to fight everyday and believing that God is with her at every step and by letting her "have faith" message be sewn for all to witness...she is employing the gift of faith...that is her ministry.
Whew. I didn't quite expect to have this blog go in that direction since I have been more of the Bart Simpson of the Basel Blog duo...the Costello to Sunny's Abbott. I don't want you to think it's terrible to be stuck in Basel on a Friday night. We have the BBC version of AFV to watch(Youve Been Framed) as well as two hours of recent American Idol reruns to watch. The British are all in a tizzy because apparently Steven Tyler is now on the show. I turned down a generous offer from the concierge for two billettes for tonight to the Euro Badminton Championships going on now here in Basel. Pinch me. Earlier today Sunny had serious heartburn and set me off to Der Apothecary at the COOP by Swissotel. The young Der Fraulina finally bailed me out as she watched me meander through the Playtex and assorted other "Damen" aisles before not grasping what Tums or Rolaids or when I shouted ANTACID at her(because after all when you don't understand always scream like the person is deaf) until finally rubbing my belly and pointing to my heart she sold me the $12 US box of Rennie's. Chalk another one up for your Stupid Amerikan story treasury. This is just hours after finishing a shave with the Swissotel's complimentary razor---one blade...like a white plastic half a bic disposable...this thing couldn't shave a point spread let alone a face. Looked like I just paid for a coiffure treatment in the Mr MacGoo school of Coif and Face Butchering. AAH.
Seriously, tomorrow we travel back to the states. Back home. It will be a nine hour middle leg from Frankfurt to Philly---bratwurst and pushy people to cheesesteaks and pushy people. Keep us in your prayers. The first leg over the Alps is truly as close as you can be to experiencing God's majesty because they are impressive. Nuff said. Impressive. That flight usually has twenty people in a sixty or seater. Plus the free Meuslix and Blueberry flavored Eco-Milk is always a treasure. It will be that middle leg that the praying in earnest begins. So please back home don't forget us...especially Sunny's comfort.
Finally, and I know I have alluded to this already in postings this week I want to give some mad props to all of you who continue to be a blessing to the Carney family. Whether it was in some way helping to raise the money that made this treatment a reality....or whether you cooked a meal and then drove over to drop it off...or whether you left the office early to watch a game or you have played Jeeves this week and driven my kids from one activity or another...or if you bowed your head ,closed your eyes and prayed...these things and so much more have been a real blessing. We only hope that your blessings come as you have done for us and that we can be part of them.
So to all u YUNZERS we can't wait until Saturday night when we exit those filthy concrete tunnels and the most dramatic Cityscape in the world magnificently unfolds in front of us...Then we know...almost home....almost home...almost home.