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, November 10, 2012

Give Us Strength & Peace

Sunshine I know you had a great week.  I don't know what heaven is like but there is no suffering so that eases part of our pain down here.  Do you feel our hurt?  I guess if you did that would be a form of suffering.  I guess that you are up there to help watch over us all down here but only in a positive way.  I hope that you have seen how the love which flowed out this week has picked the boys and I up.  I worry about family and friends who for so long fought with you,  prayed with and for you , I hope that their hearts have felt some of the love and peace this week in between the tears.  I know you said you were worried about how we would handle it...and I can tell you we will be fine.  Our boys grew up this week.  They became united together just as you always they would be.  They watched how you fought and lived every day and loved them and they got it.  The void here at home still doesn't seem real.  I still wait for you to tell me to keep it down....or that you help getting up or to get a drink.  I keep waiting for the phone call to say come up and help me rearrange the pillows.  Sometimes if its real quiet I swear I hear your voice and the sweetest sound it is.

But I know it's all make believe...Mr Rogers Time To Move On Without Me Neighborhood....We always had time before your surgeries here or before the trips to Basel to contemplate the what write things talk to the give hugs...and say be home soon...this was so anticlimatic in so many was a blood sugar level that had to be brought wasn't supposed to be a death sentence....after all the researching and preparing we did it still snuck up on us and with a vengeance.

Right now I was holding your hand....dabbing your mouth....this exact moment as I type this you gave me that final hard squeeze and the thumbs up....thanks for that because every day I struggle in some way with the notion that I let this doctor who didn't know how our Sunny fought from the patient next door give up on you too soon....thanks for that reassuring gesture because if not I would really feel like I let you down.  Honey I would do anything ....anything at all for you if it would have given you relief...if it would have given you comfort and kept you here in our midst....I know I know you are here with the sunrise and have given us several reassuring signs since but you know what I mean...I want you here next to laugh with....yes you watch over us but that concept is going to take time....sorry....but the suddenness of it all still befuddles a lot of us.

I remember how as the nurse put  the oxygen breathing tube in you turned your head on its side towards me so that I could look at that beautiful face to the very end.   And you were so beautiful.  Your smile broke hearts it was that good.  You just stared at me with the one open eye and I knew the breathing was getting shorter but it still didn't hit me until it just sort of faded away.  I held your hand because I didn't want to let go...I don't know if I thought I could do finger to finger resuscitation or what but I just held on....seeing you in that looked like peace....even as I lost my best friend, my one true love...eventually I will be more at peace but for now I fake it....because as you said we should cry and then get back to living...I am forcing myself to do the latter so I can find the peace...

You always amazed me and pushed me but importantly you loved me...and I only hope you knew how much I loved you.  It's been a real hard week but we will be strong.  A lot of prayers and faith.  I really really miss you.  Talk to you tomorrow baby...