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
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
As I was paying some of the bills today the lady from Highmark.....yes Highmark....I know how much you loved to sit on hold and then be transferred and then hold and then be transferred with them but this lady said she would pray for us, even though it was a recorded line she didn't care. I heard the same thing from the sweet people at the Plum water but this was a big "cold" corporate entity. Anyways it struck me how that is the most powerful four letter word in the world....no not that one....PRAY. How many times did we pray together for you , for us, for our boys, for family, for friends, for other carcinoid patients, for Chris and his family, for Kristen's family, for Stacy....well I can go on and on....you see...it is a small word....often dismissed....well I wish I could do more.....and then almost apologetically " but I will pray"....I think that the significance of that action is maybe the most misunderstood, underrated, and unappreciated verb in history. Not that donations and dinners and all aren't tremendous too, but that act of talking directly to God is pretty special. And we know he answered prayers. We used to pray for your complete healing , but we also prayed that Gods will be done....not that we had any influence on it regardless....but that his will be done.
Down here I can tell you that not an hour goes by where I dont feel a pang in my heart, a vast emptiness in my soul like a big chunk of my life has suddenly gone missing....but then I recall the prayers and I pray again....his will is done....and He was done with you down here....so the gift you got is your reward up there. I cant begin to tell you how many times in the past two weeks I have heard from people how you touched their life. I actually had someone come through the funeral one and explain how you made a few simple phone calls on behalf of their daughter and those phone calls led to the right diagnosis and now she was going to be OK. I saw the tears in her eyes....I felt the humbling sense of wow...this was the person I had the privilege of sharing my life with...you were and still are my closest friend, my biggest cheerleader, and yes my harshest critic....but just like I need that extra boost to pursue dreams I need that kick in the butt now and then as well.
It has been hard not knowing how often to hug or to try to talk the boys about all of this, but I have really tried to be an open book with them so they can see me laughing and hurting all at the same time....I want them to know your message to me was cry cry cry and then strap the boots back on and get livin....you know that is damn hard but we are doing the best we can...one step at a time.
Next week is already Thanksgiving so yes the Christmas ads for Black Friday are on. I hated those ads because it ruined Thanksgiving. You used to love to get up and sick and all go banging with the bargain hunters....I used to say you were nuts...but you made sure each and every last thing that was on their list was taken care of...this year those ads suck even worse because of what I just said and now the official kickoff to Christmas is going to be here and light up nights and all....and well it is going to just really sick for awhile that's all...
I miss you and they say time heals....I guess they mean more than a week...because I don't feel too healed at this point...acting as if...but not too healed.
Love you...love you...love you...