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
Monday, November 19, 2012
I want to take time over the next couple of days to share with you some of the stories and emails I have received from those that I guess you can say wanted to "give thanks" for your presence in their life. I am going to do this for the next several nights and on Thanksgiving I wanted to tell you what I am thankful for in our wonderful 21 years together. You know I miss you...you know I listen to the U2 and can't help but get choked up because it was the last and only real concert we saw as a family....so I won't go into that....it's unspoken and I know you know...
I want to start off with a story about the impact you made on a certain 9 nine year old who played in the wiffleball tourney every year except one...but that's not what makes this worth sharing....a lot of people played over the past five years....this young man his mother shared with me everyday for the past two weeks has asked her at night what her one good thing for the day was. He spoke in front of his whole class and shared your story, your impact, and your message of finding that one good thing. I have heard similar feedback from others...from good family friends with young men in college...to strangers via email who simply followed your blog.
I want to tell you how someone came through the viewing line and stopped me to share with me how you hadnt seen her or her daughter in awhile, learned her daughter was ill, took it upon yourself to reach out to your advocate at Highmark, press them to help, help was given, and that she day she was in line because you had cared enough to get involved. I don't know when you found all of the time because I thought I knew all of these private interventions. I want to tell you how one of the first people to come through the line Monday night was Dr Friedland. I can only tell that his tears were real and so were is words that you had impacted him as much as he had tried to help you. It was very special watching him share with your mom just how much he admired your courage and spirit.
I want to tell you that I have received emails from across the country from other Carcinoid patients or their families, who followed your blog...some of whom you had made a connection with....some not...but each one offering words as to how you taught them how to fight...how to question...how to research...how to not give up....absolutely humbling and they are still coming in two weeks later...I want to tell you how many people have posted, or sent word that you have helped plant the "faith " seed in their lives...how they weren't overly religious but that watching you valiantly press on with no question as to the greater purpose and driving force behind this gift of life we are blessed with...how watching you not loose your faith left a desire to get what gave you such peace amidst this whole fight.
I want to tell you about an email I got just tonight from an old acquaintance from Plum who decided to take his kids to the zoo for the first time in years and had a great time...inspired because you wouldn't waste a day and family was the driver...I want to tell you how every single teacher our boys have ever had since Redeemer, Pivik, Oblock, and now Plum HS, came and shared how you raised your boys to be such find young men and how proud they were of them and how lucky they were to have gotten to know you. Every one.
I want you to know that your fear of not doing enough, or of not having enough time was unfounded. You touched many and I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow. It truly was "A Wonderful Life"