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 19, 2012

Your Life's Footprints

It's time for me to spell it out.  I'm really sick and we are praying for a miracle.  This last two weeks the doctors and I have been focusing on finding some answers to the question of "Why?".  My body has been giving out.  I  have had tremendous swelling that started in my toes and has now moved up to my face.  Well with many test and more test to confirm those test and then I of course needed the third, just like I did when I find out I was pregnant with Nolan, we confirmed the findings we did not want to confirm.  So I write this blog with some discomfort.  Not sadness but extreme discomfort.  As much as I love everyone who has been my warriors I do ask for some respect of my time with my boys, Mark and my  family.  The findings are what we feared; the cancer is spreading so rapidly.  This is what happens with carcinoid. It creeps then flies, creeps flies, creeps flies.  We are looking for that miracle now.  My oncologist has calls and emails into all my specialists all over the US, Germany and Switzerland.  Of course I'm looking too.  Today I had a scheduled procedure to get my stomach tapped to get some of the water out to reduce the swelling.  Unfortunately when they went in to drain there was not much water because what's filling my stomach is the cancer.  So that made it twice a real.

Enough medical stuff. I don't want to sound horrible to all you who love me but I can't go into all the medical things right now.  I need loved and loved.  Please respect my family and just love us.  Please don't hit me for a few days with medical questions.  We don't know our medical choice of action.  We are looking, so asking us what we are going to do medically will only frustrate us.  I do know that I'm not quitting and will be on some chemo.  My answer until Tuesday is pray for a miracle that a new treatment will pop up. 

Now what is on my mind.  I was talking to a friend, actually crying with a friend.  I love that a friend can feel so much love for you that they cry with you.  Anyways she said to me, "Sunny you have your footprints all over the world."  I asked her what she meant and she answered that I have made a difference.  I thought ok everyone does, that's why we are here.  That's why God gave us to the world, Right?  She asked me to write about that. 

So here I am trying to put that in words.  What does it mean to leave footprints?  NOT FOOTPRINTS IN SAND,  BUT FOOTPRINTS IN CONCRETE.  We always see those beautiful beach pictures of  with footprints in them. In fact i think I've taken a few.   That's the first thing that came to my mind when she said I left footprints for everyone. My book, my blog, my actions, my words and everything.   Then I thought of my boys and said that's  what I hope I did, left some sand footprints for them to have. But I remember those footprints make a pretty picture but as soon as the water splashes up they are washed away clean.  I don't want all the footprints that I worked to hard to make get washed away by a wave. That wave to me is a symbol of hard times. I want to leave FOOTPRINTS IN CONCRETE.  I WANT MY BOYS TO BE ABLE TO FEEL MY FOOTPRINTS ON THEIR HEARTS. I want to leave my footprints for everyone.   My brother said something like he cant go on with out my big smile when times are hard and nothings going to be the same.  Well he's right.  It can't be the same when someone whose been there is not there, but my footprints hopefully made it better. Of course this is all figurative but I mean my words and actions.

What am I talking about footprints?  I am talking about what I have done during this cancer journey to make this world a better place.  I hope I have first taught my boys the beginning of manhood.  I hope I taught them how to love the world, fight during hard times, love during non-loving times and laugh during sad times.  I hope I have showed that giving up is not an option when thinks look hopeless.  I hope that during those hopeless times step back, let go of the wheel and let Jesus drive.  Actually I hope I have taught many people these things.  Thank God I have not given up because how different my boys life would be.  I was determined to not give in and at times I thought I could not go on.  I would then close my eyes and look for my concrete footprints.  Then if there is not enough I knew it was time to tie those boots up and make more footprints.  I am told that I am leaving footprints for others and I feel so humbled by that because I am just doing what I would normal do....fight like hell with dignity and faith.  I realize that my faith is my footprints.  My footprints are how my journey is with God.  So He has been given my the strength to get off the sand and step in the concrete.  I am making the footprints in concrete with him.  He is given me the strength to push down and then He pulls me out leaving behind my actions, words, faith and inspiration.....MY FOOTPRINT.  It's all through Him.  How blessed I am to be able to do that through my cancer journey.  I want to stress I am not giving up.  We are still looking for option and right now I will start some kind of Chemo.  But I am also finding my peace too. 

My question to you all is where are you leaving your footprints?  Take my journey the last 4 1/2 years and continue.  Leave some footprints for me.  Continue this journey.  We all have our cancers and if you think you don't trust me one day it'll come.  Please know this is not a letter of goodbye.  This is a blog of inspiration.  Please don't give up in your life.  Show others that life is awesome if you choose to see it.  I feel so blessed that I had this journey.  But I am not done unless God is telling me.  My boys, Mark and my family are my focus now.  Of course I am still looking for that miracle treatment.  I am asking all my carcinoid posse to please email me your new treatments.  We need to work together.  I need your advice my carcinoid friends..

To all my friends and warriors please cry with me.  Don't close me out and lets have fun.  I love you all.  Sunday is a big day withe the fifth annual Wiffle Ball tournament for carcinoid cancer.  Please show up and love me.  Please start making your footprints. 

Love you all,