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, October 12, 2012

Loving me through it

Well I think it's about time I catch all up. So sorry for the laps of time, it's truly been one thing after another. Anything I could go through I went through. We all know I hate to post negative news. I guess it's hard for me to face sometimes cancer is hard and sometimes scary. I'm embarrassed because I missed posting some amazing days too. Despite all the rough physical days I missed posting first day of school (2 in High School now), my birthday, my son's sixteenth birthday and best of all I made it 10 hrs in the car to North Carolina beach and was the Maid of Honor in my dear nieces wedding. Up until the last day the doc was thinking I could not do it. My husband was scared to death. You see about two weeks before the wedding, when all the other good days were happening, i started radiation, then immediately started a new experimental chemotherapy which dropped my immune system and I got a bad case of shingles and horrible thrush in my mouth as well as my chest and bronchioles.   Ugh it's been rough.  So truthfully I was just trying to see the event writing was so hard. However that is no excuse because my blog is not suppose to be a hassle my blog is my release and a plays others go to see how I do it. Well I have to tell you the last few months surviving is all I was doing.

First and most importantly the Fifth Annual Wiffle Ball tournament is October 21st. Please register your team.  You can pay at the door. Don't forget all ages can play.  Everyone is put into its age bracket. There is nothing better then to see a 65 yr old grandpa play with their 8 yr old grandson. Registering your team guarantees a great spot. You can pay that morning at door but it's important to register. You can do that above. All are welcomed though. There is beer donated by Miller,  food donated by Shop n Save and DJ Lou. The fun part is the dancing and kids zone.  I cant help to mention Plum's biggest Chinese auction and amazing silent auction. We have some awesome sports memorabilia this year. Several signed items and tickets. So come to watch, eat and dance. It's all about the positive of cancer. Yes there is some good in cancer; come and see. 

As mentioned I usually blog about the amazing days I have in spite of cancer. The last few months I missed blogging about some pretty big milestones. Let me explain why. In June we did scans and found out that the cancer is spreading. I started radiation the first week of July and it dropped my immune system and my blood levels. But Dr. Freidland, Dr. Liu and I still felt that time was wasting and cancer was growing quickly that we needed to take the risk and start the new chemotherapy cycle of IV, and 2 drugs. We knew this was a risk. It is a very very strong treatment but we all felt we could not wait any longer. So after my radiation I immediately started the chemo. I did okay but it started to knock me out. Then it all started falling apart. And just lifting my head was to hard so I had to save my energy to get through the event, blogging was out of the question. After three rounds of the chemotherapy cycles (14 days on 14 dates off) I got a bad case of the shingles and internal fungal infection together. That's what I'm fighting now.  Just getting through day to day was tough. Boys needed to get ready for back to school and all their sports started. Mark was swimming with the sharks and trying to keep his head above water. But we had so much help and support from my family and friends. It was like big strong hugs.

I'm now dealing with some blood level issues that is effecting my heart. This week we got some scary news and we will found out more next week what is actually going on. However, I have been so blessed with an outpouring of love and help. I'm fighting hard and will never give in to this cancer. I want to start the chemotherapy cycle soon but I just can't get strong enough. So please please continue to pray. Last years theme for the Wiffle Ball tournament was "We're going to love you though it". I have to say I am totally loved through it. God has been with me through it all and he has given me the most amazing family, friends, and support system. Enjoy the song above.