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

Friday, April 20, 2012

Scan Day

Well this is the day that will determine if all the money we spent to get to Switzerland was worth it.  Today is my scan day.  I am sitting here at Hillman Cancer Center in the waiting room filled with cancer patients or maybe cancer patients all waiting to see if there life is going to change forever.  As I look around, I love people watching, I want so badly to give each one a huge hug.  I've been fighting for so long and had hundreds of scan I guess I don't get as anxious as most.  It is so interesting to see how each person handles their wait.  For some reason even without looking for the wrist bracelets I got really good at determining which one is the patient and which one is the loved one or ones sitting with them.  To the left of me is a well dressed man in a suit sitting with I think must be his wife.  She is all done up to the nines and is flipping through an Arhouse Funiture Magazine.  Every once in a while she leans over to him and shows him a page, he shakes his head and puts on a fake smile.  He keeps checking his messages on his cell phone and answering his emails.  He seems annoyed that he has to wait because he really needs to get back to work and make some of the money his wife is planning on spending.  But I think deep down they are both a nervous wreck.  Mark is sitting a across from him and the man in the suit and Mark strike up a conversation about waiting.  I want to say, "Listen dude cancer does not wait for you to close a deal.  Suck it up". 

Two rows in front of me is a woman in her 50's I would say.  Who knows though she could be in her 20's but cancer ages many?  She is in a wheelchair and has a scarf over her bald head.  She looks exhausted.  She caught me looking at her and we smile at each other. I think she is alone.  Over by the door is elderly man smiling from ear to ear.  He is drinking that nasty crap they make us drink and he is loving it.  It looks like his wife and maybe his son are sitting with him.  They too have a smile on their faces but behind it is a worry I can see.  He is loving that drink crap.  He is holding his wife's hand and leaning over his lap to struck up conversation with his son who I would say is in his late 40's and dressed pretty well too.  That man just seems happy to be with his family even though it in the waiting room for cancer scans.  Goodness that little old man is an inspiration.  His son seems to think so too. 

There is a man with a whole group of people with him sitting on the other side of the room.  I am listening to them talking to another couple sitting there.  They drove four hours to get here for a PET CT SCAN.  They must of taken a big van because there is a whole group of them.  They seem to be making the best of the situation.  It sure is nice to see all those people supporting him.  The nurse just called the little old mans name to come to the back.  Mr. Kennedy was his name and he jump right up and said, "I'm yours for a while, but my wife wants me back.  The girl laughed and his wife shook her head yes and she looked so sad".  He hopped right back with the nurse with that same big smile on.  I bet he's trying to put a big front on for his wife and son.  What a true leader of his family!  I looked back over to the son and wife and she is now holding her son's hand.  SWEET!!!  I hope he gets good news. 

I think I am next so I am going to end now.  I will not get any results back until next week and I will update with a post.  PROMISE.  Please pray that I can finish the scan.  It so painful for me anymore.  I am putting the results in God's hands.  What they are they are and I can't worry about them.  It's out of my control right now. 

Just called me name.