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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Times

I so appreciate all the emails, cards, texts, phone calls and FB messages.  I know, I know, I know that you all worry when I have a lapse in blog post.  Yes it does usually mean I am not doing as well as I want to be. The pain is off and on in intensity but unfortunitly it's always on.  But also it's really hard for me to just sit at the computer at times and process my thoughts when I am going through a tough spell. All things I don't want to talk about in this post.   I have blogged and released my tension and stress but I have not published them in the past week.  I really don't want to put those times in this blog.  Like I said before they are in my book so those who don't like to read the bad times can pass through them.  Maybe a book two for these ones that I have not published.  I must say I have been blessed with the popularity of book one.  I just hope it is helping those climbing a tough mountain like me see that there is good in those bad times. 

Speaking of seeing the good I had to jump on the computer and just tell everyone about my experience today.  Several friends of mine reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me if they could do a Zumbathon in my honor.  For those who are not familiar with Zumba Dancing let me explain.  It is a Latin-based exercise dance class....think Hip Hop Abbs goes south of the Border.  In the past several years it has become a huge new way to get you groove on while you raise your heart rate and get in shape.  So when they asked me if they could do one I thought this would be a small little get together that I can use to raise the awareness of carcinoid cancer and spread the word of early detection.  Well let me tell you when things are lead by God, the friends that did this for me are wonderful Christian woman, nothing is small.  The people just poured in and by noon O'Block JR High School in Plum, PA was completely packed.  Everyone wearing the Carcinoid Colors of Zebra Print black and white.  By 12:03 the dancing began and my heart was pounding. 

I am still in amazement at the love that was pouring out.  We had ranges of ages from 85 to 6 as well as first timers to experience Zumbaers.  Even my teenage boys and their friends participated.  Not sure if that was for me or for all the High School girls in tight yoga pants and short shirts but I didn't care. 
I had some one message me a few hours later that truly touched me.  This woman attended the event today and she said she has attended many of these events, so she's a regular.  In her message she said of all the Zumbathons she has participated in she has never felt such love pouring out for one person.  Have to say I felt that love too.  I walked around the gym several times videoing the action.  The love and hope was pouring out as much as the sweat.  I kept thinking that all these people are working their butts off for my fight.  What an awesome feeling that was!

I don't know why I have been so blessed with so much support, but I do know that all that support keeps me fighting.  I feel this huge responsibility to battle this cancer with all I have because I have so many cheering me on and I don't want to let them down.  So many have rallied around me and my family, that the two little words, "THANK YOU" seem just that....too little.  But I don't know how else to express my gratitude expect to promise you I wont give up and I will pay this kindness forward at any opportunity I can.  The most memorable moment of the day was when my oldest son Austen walked into the gym about 10 minutes after the dancing started.  He put his arm around me and just said, "WOW MOM.  Look at what you brought together".  My answer to him was as simple as his sentence, "This is not because of anything I did Ace (that's what I call him), this is all the Man Above".  He is working every minute through this cancer.

Thank you again everyone who came today and danced your butts off.  And thank you all those who are loving me through this battle. 

With many happy tears,