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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Basel III....12 Months Later...I Revist & Your Words

Sunshine I want to tell you that I LOVE U...I am thinking right now as I have been for the past couple of hours about where we were a year ago on this date....and on this weekend...Championship Sunday....You know why I pity the NFL...they have one day a year for Championship Sunday....everyday with you was my and everyone who loved and knew you very own Championship were always a winner..always  a champion....never letting Carcinoid Cancer raise the belt as a title holder when the bell rung...when that bell rung for a new always got off the bench and went back in the ring....cancer was not the champion in this are and always will be my champ....I was honored to be your trainer...promoter....handler...cut guy..sparring partner(I prepped you well....haha)....and when it came time for Michael Buffer to say LETS GET READY TO were always more than  ready....and with class and grace..before I choke on a michelob I need to move on...sorry...

as we talk it is the 20th of January....a year ago we departed for  Basel...our sixteen hour and final journey to Basel complete....seems like much pain...but so much hope...I need to pause and collect my emotions for a second hon...please don't go anywhere....

Sun I have attached the blog you posted on arriving in  Basel.... it is wonderful to have your voice
a part of this is not haunting or is so real like it was just now that I was rearranging my mattress....and reading what you wrote when I got back to the room at Swissotel...and yes I said my you recall we had our first and only experience with a king bed consisting of two Euro mattresses side by side....I remember how I tossed and turned so much sleepless on that hard excuse for $300 a night comfort that I seperated the two and almost lost you in a freak wife gets sucked into Euro king mattress gap....(we did misplace the I-pad for a few frantic hours) I reread what you wrote that night twelve short months ago I am there...curse of an almost photographic memory or blessing of being one and one with your everything in the world halfway across the world from was you and I ...and it is and always was a special place for still probably don't understand you dreaded the treatment and of course it affected your view of Basel and our trips...but I realize that we went there not by accident....we were drawn so close each time...plopped into that situation by choice and being led and blessed by Him to even get there...we were two but we were one....we were so close because we had no choice...and we relished it....I know I didn't wish the treatment for anyone...but it had worked and we were comfortable with the lay of the town,  I can't imagine anyone man feeling closer to his wife than I did on our three excursions there....closer than our honeymoon...yep its true...and no I won't take that back Sunshine...honeymoon was wonderful but we were so young we had no frickin clue...

This time was different from the onset as you were starting to lose weight as tumors became more agressive...(Dr. Friedland had told us go to Basel because he was running out of options here....he also almost had us cancel the trip because wasn't sure if you would be strong enough to make the voyage....)....we also were booked into a new hotel...not our favorite Hilton....and a new part of we prayed...the peace that He can give that I referred to the other night came like a lazy wave washing over the grains of the sand at the beach....a little foamy....but soft...your toes frolick in it...and then it returns....and then comes right back...the rthym of those waves calming...soothing...nap inducing....(if you have been to the shore you understand)....the kind of waves that you put an infant in to get his toes wet...and BOSE charges $200 for to reproduce in a radio...

we were so blessed on that final trip over the pond....we were given middle section own rows...and yes I was behind you on the biggest leg...but the other two we had open seats around us....well I take that back...I think HEAVENLY AIRWAYS had reserved those for Jesus and your angels to sit around us and especially couldn't be anything  but for all three legs...and you in as much pain as you were in...getting was truly a miracle the way those seats played out because that part could have been really like hell...instead I was able to help you up and stepping over snoring Euro Grandmas or spilling Euro visitors plastic wine glasses...I could help instantly....I could reach through the seats and take your hand..or rub that sweet little beautiful forehead...I could help you with your meds when it came time...I could lean my head forward to your ear through the rest and pray....and pray...and pray....God we were so blessed....

I remember we were both surprised upon landing in Basel that there was no customs/immigration officers on duty....we were early Saturday morning but there was like a handful of us....but you were sick...nauseaus and we got to go right stops...I won't forget the priceless look on your face when the cab (Benz) pulled up to the Swissotel and right next to it was the Sex shop/Gentlemans Club...across from the still being expanded convention center...not as scenic depending on your perspective(just kidding)...compared to our Hilton...but the service there as you know was frickin outstanding...above and beyond at every step....what the view lacked the staff more than made up for....

As we went in I recall it was still only like nine AM or something Basel time if that...and no I won't go back and reread...I am right...we were hours early as it turned out...I watched you fall asleep in the cab...I looked at you slumping on your bag, using the handle as a rest...(and yes before half of the world yells at insisted on wheeling your bag because it gave you balance...)you were about as tired as I ever had seen were also having stomach needed a bed and as you note below you didn't really care for it when I told your story and asked for help....but you would have done the exact same if roles were switched...I had one concern...and that was to get my baby a room....I remember even now how sweet and young the check in girl we got was....I think she was surprised to know that you were facing life or death...and how young you were....I did ask as you note...for the first room....told her it could be a single and we would move later....that you needed rest...funny but as we finished a late breakfast there the hours became about ninety minutes and we had our room....I say funny but reality is God doesn't just belong to the USA , he is Lord over in Europe as well and was with us once more....

how much detail should I revisit Sunshine....I can recall the small Euro elevators...nice but small...the second floor...turning left past the oval marble table, across from that little glass partially enclosed meeting area????the one Peter would wait for us at....three doors down...and the room....and we crashed....well after calling the front desk to come up and show us to turn the shower on....yes it happened...I laid next to you and stared...rubbed your hand and looked so calm sleeply there in the storm....(you had the peace)....beautiful....serene....I stop....because I can literally see it...see own personal portrait of beauty and grace...I stop....sorry....

Back...Obsession by Animotion plays on Pandora...and I can say that I never obviously treated you like a possession but I was obsessed with your comfort and getting that treatment and putting a positive spin on that whole trip....the fact that the only Sun Basel saw that entire week came all the way from the USA origniating in Greenfield PA with a stopover in Plum PA was ironic as hell...we couldn't have seen the Alps that week unless we were 15000 feet sorry meters sent me out to get some munchies...we were waiting for Peter late Saturday afternoon....and you gave me a semi-comfort shopping list like I running down to Community or Giant Eagle or ShopnSave...or like there was a Wendy's right an obsessed sucker I went...took the tram...explored the new part of town...and found McDonalds and Starbucks...(the american corner I joked...but I rode into the inner old city across the bridge anyways..up to the HOSPITAAL...can't explain it...but when I crossed that old bridge over the Rhine it was like driving through our Ft Pitt Tunnel....when I got out on the other side of that bridge I knew I was in a place that He had brought me...for you...for reasons only he knows we were led to Basel out of all the places in Europe we could have gone...we were blessed enough to have money raised to go...we were blessed on trips every time and our loved boys were blessed and watched over back home while we were gone...I felt a peace as a result...I walked through the cold drizzle...past all of the familiar jewelers, chocalatiers, and high end clothing stores...I walked past the Three Kings Hotel...and I felt as if we had made it again...our little cancer Bethelem...we had once again followed our Star and had gone where we were led to go...

I know you looked at the old buildings and grey skies at times and saw something that wasn't always endearing...(the entrance to Second Ave in hazelwood now....I don't know...)but I saw the revitalized Lawrenceville or Strip District...of course the buildings were a lot older...but there was an energy...and it was a familar comforting place....I walked back across the called ...down with shower...where the hell was I at?  you needed food?....I got the point...and jumped back on the train the end of the bridge after picking up some goodies and hoping they were not Swiss surprises....backed it up with Mickey D Fries not on list just to be off by the hotel and there was a little Euro versio of Uni Mart...same owners as here in Plum/Oakmont you know what I mean...bought some fruit for you..Coke Lites...and crackers that I hoped were as bland as the box hugged me when I got back....said how we had made it...Peter had called and was on his way....I hugged back and I am not ashamed to say it started to tear up....stop it...can't help it...we were doing it again....Basel...we knew what pain lay ahead for you....actually we didn't because this would end up being the hardest by far physically of three treatments...but as many of you know when you invest in a project or an activity how you feel when its take that same thing and make it a loved make it your dearest number one loved person in the world and then imagine that thing being in a situation where life or death posssibilities were in play...yea we hugged...we hugged....we cried....not tears of sadness...exhaustive one step down here we go now tears....and I hope at some point everyone can cry and hug like that...not for cancer....for love...for completely throwing yourself into your other halfs their pain is their joy is they laugh and you are lifted up....they cry and you are saddened....wouldn't trade that ....

As I watch the football games later today I will be thinking about how we had a great dinner in Basel with Peter and then watching the end of one and then the Giant's-Niners in a hotel bar on a hooked up computer screen being fed signals so we Americaans could watch it...I remember going up to check on you several times...first time to get the beer from the Mini-Bar(who knew Amstel Light was cheaper than Bud )....the second time to help with your had just finished the post below...tuck you then several more times to see if you were were asleep....I LOVE U....

So I am going to stop the drive down Euro lane now....might pick it up tomorrow or later today not sure...because it is important to recall that our journey Sunshine was not just the two of was dinners getting dropped off(still are a year later....thanks Marlene and everyone)....its family staying with our boys...and rides....its prayer....from everyone...its the generous nature of good people....donating in tough times to help us raise the money that made those three trips possible...its a very special group of people who donated a shit load of time to make all of those fundraisers know who they do I do they..and so does He...its teachers and counselors and lunch ladies and school administration neighbors and even bus drivers that looked out for our boys and still do today....its coaches and teammates and friends making sure they had something to do and someone to talk to ....and still do a year later...its well..its not much different a year later...we are so blessed and I as look back this isn't says in 2 Peter 4:11 (NIV) Dear friends , since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.    vs 12....No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.     There is alot of love being made complete around us....and has been for years...thank you....

But cancer is still hurting a lot of dear friends....loved ones of dear friends....strangers who reach out...and it has been a tough few days that is why I think its no coincidence that those who are hurting can realize that if they search for His peace....they can fight on....You literally were throwing up in a plane over the Atlantic as I hit PUBLISH in a few minutes....but you had His help to fight I hope the message received is not a sorry one....but an encouraging one....anything is possible if you believe...don't quit....don't quit on someone I will turn it over to your blog from that last trip...

I LOVE U.....


Phase one of the journey(1/21/12)

We have arrived and I must say the trip was not so bad. We had three flights and none where full which made for a very roomy way. Our first flight was Pittsburgh to Newark, we were on a small commuter plane which are always difficult for me to fly in. Having one lung causes breathing pain when flying and for some reason smaller planes seem worse. But it was quick and I did use the pain meds which took the edge off. At Newark we flew to Dusseldrof, Germany. I kept joking with Mark that maybe we should stay there and see if some Harry Potter wizards or even muggles had any potions that would help me. Of course I had to have my run in or two with a few pushy Euros. I have to ask why do they think pushing through customs is going to make them get on their plane any faster? Each one of them had there bags searched and of course I walked by and gave them an American, "ha ha" with unsearched bags in hand. I want to stay nice but I have my own ideas on why their bags get searched. I don't understand why they are so rude and feel the need to "space invade"? Honestly they are right on top of me and Mark as we tried to take off our shoes and open our bags. "Back off and give me room to breathe please" I had to yell at one. Only to find he was one row ahead of me on the plane in Germany. I whispered for the whole long flight hoping he did not recognize me and my temper.

Of course that flight from Newark to Germany was much tougher this year then the trips before. My bone mets have spread and the old ones have grown. There where a few hours that I just closed my eyes and prayed, Eventually, I would pull myself together and get through it. We got to our hotel at about 9:00 am Basel time and both Mark and I where completely whooped. Just dead dog tired and I was crying in some pain. However, I completely forgot to ask what time was check-in when I booked the room. The lady behind the desk was so sweet, she said we would not be able to check in until two in the afternoon. At that time I felt the anxiety for the first time since we left home. How would I make it that long? I was vomiting, the pain is was so bad I am unable to even open my mouth. Not to mention I needed toothpicks to hole my eyes open. Then Mark begged her to get a room clean fast. For the tenth time that day he began to tell my whole story. I hate when he starts doing that in public but Mark talks about it with such pride. And people listen in such wonder. I get uncomfortable because I know its not me that gets me through this.....its the "Man Upstairs". Of course I get that pathetic look of feeling sorry for me which really make me squirm. After Mark pulling on some heart strings the front desk clerk promised us the first room clean. We were up in a room with in an hour and half.

Our friend Peter is coming to visit us from Amsterdam tonight and we are heading out to meet him for a bite to eat. Which I am sure is going to mean me eating then getting exhausted and leaving Peter and Mark to have a good time on their own. Somehow I think they don't mind that. I had already checked in at home and everyone is doing great. Shoveling out from a storm back in the burgh but nobody misses us yet. Wish that was the case for me. As soon as the taxi left the airport and started driving the streets of Basel to our hotel the memory of our last stays became so vivid. The gloom of sky, the garfette on the buildings and the bikers steering in and out of the way of our cab. Similar to the city of Pittsburgh just older but this is not home. This is where I spent weeks sick without my family. Mark reached over in the cab and grab my hand and said, "you made it Sun." . That is when I started seeing the surroundings differently. The doom and gloom memories became feelings of hope and accomplishment. The swiss grafitti that I could not read became art.

I know that the only way we got here is through prayer. I can not imagine getting as far as I have with my battle without God. He has put people in my life that have rallied behind me to make this possible. He has given us opportunities that only he could create. He was given me strength at times when I did not think I could give anymore. Just in our 16 hour journey today, or yesterday wherever you are reading this, He was pulled me through. The past two weeks of preparing for this journey I have strengthen my faith as well. I am really giving this whole journey to Him and letting Him drive the car. He has gotten us through so many obstacles to get here. There is no way it is not going to be successful.

Please keep praying for us. Mostly please pray for my family at home. Thank you all whole are taking care of them. From bringing dinners, to rides, to being on call when needed. Mark and I know we could not get through this without that help. We will be posted daily so please keep checking back.

Until later,