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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks Sunshine

Sunshine it is officially are you baby?  This is the start of the next phase of our new without you...the beginning of the first holiday season without you...the emotions I am feeling that we here our feeling are tough to put into words.  We know that this marked the "kickoff" of your favorite 30 day of the year.  You inspire and you touch me every time I hear Christmas songs on the radio, or see an ad for a three am door buster black Friday sale....and I reflect back as to how many times we would laugh at certain cheesy Christmas songs and how you got up and did your black Friday fighting every year,  I promised that this week wasn't going to be weepfest 2012 and we will revisit this topic again over at Plum Creek.

We had the whole family over today the way you wanted and  it was a bit strange.  The house bustled and the smelled like any other Thanksgiving but to be honest the more we all tried to keep things "normal" the harder at times it seemed.  I found myself just keeping busy.  Taking out trash...chasing the dog away from the turkey....playing ball with the neices...and Legos with nephew...then more garbage...then sneaking upstairs just to catch a moment....I don't think I had a chance to sit down and talk to the boys once....feels like the day slipped away and took forever at the same time.  I know we have so much to be thankful for down here and I could go on and on and maybe some day I will just sit down and write the sequel to your unfinished life story....or I guess the story of all of us that you touched from my POV.  But as I thought about being thankful and what matters most now....I came up with three important thank you's to share....

Austen, Logan, and Nolan. Our boys reflect their mother in every thing they do.  The strength and determination they have exhibited through this process is a mirror of how you chose to fight.  The way they have supported each other is an answer to your question do they get how important family is?  They get it baby.  The caring nature which you instilled in them has surfaced even as they heal themselves.  The Messengers had to put their dog down a week ago and Nolan found out on the way home from Sheetz and stopped in to console Derek.  How so like you.  Austen shared with the principal and counselor when they had a discussion on returning to school that the biggest worry he had and the biggest thing they could help him with was helping his brother Logan.  How unselfish like you.  Logan was still selling your bracelets at school because I found $2 washed and crinkled in several jeans pockets.  His strength at the soccer banquet to face that emotional night was all you.  So I guess though there are probably thousands of thank you's I could share now....none would outrank those top three.  Those were the big ones and you did an amazing job in giving of yourself despite the pain to teach them life lessons.

I only pray that I can continue the journey with them as they grow and be the same type of influence on them that you were.  I love you Sunshine and today was hard.  But it was also a poignant time to reflect on the real reasons we all should get up for daily.  Thanks for imparting that knowledge to me.

Happy Thanksgiving.