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
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Loving Like Its the Frontline
So as this dear friend from the field of dreams responds to my facebook posting( I won't quote it here but it had to do with the grains of sands and the rthyms of the waves washing over them and the same God who created that beautiful confluence of power and soothing is with each of us...we are never alone...) which actually came from a conversation with Hilton Head Lori who hasn't been to the beach in years even though she is minutes away...never quite got that...even when your brother told us the same thing at Vero about his kids....you got up every morning in Florida...and I mean every morning for fifteen years of vacations...to photograph and share with your kids...and finally me...the beauty of being the first to say hello to His portrait for that new day...each day was a gift....you said that always...treat the present like a present...and you seized each sunrise there like a kid on Xmas morning opens that gift wrapped toy and finds the best surprise ever...that was how you treated those moments as I got to experience finally with you on my 40th...I am so grateful I went that morning and yet kick myself for never going before that...you treated each dawning day as the opportunity to unwrap a new present....not sure what it would contain...but excited to find out...never disappointed and always anticipative...never a routine or a rut...sure you had things you planned to get done...but you made concrete footprints not concrete plans for each day...that was another one of your secrets...
If Duquesne Light had to wait one more day and we had to roll the utility dice again so you could help a Carcinoid patient from Nebraska, or simply talk to an old friend who had an ill child...you shoved that red letter to the side and did what you knew was right...I love you for that so much...
As we were going back and forth regarding the posting on Facebook I wanted to address the nature of our love...I didn't think I accurately portrayed my feelings about it the last couple of days...neither the passion of it...nor the intensity of it...although never having had the honor of serving our country I can only go off of what we see and that constant keen alertness our heroes have on the frontline...loyal to their fellow soldiers and willing to die for them in fact...the heightened state of whatever it is ...readiness..confidence....nerves...whatever...I am not trying at all to trivialize this country's heroes and the sacrifice they and their loved one make...I just felt that all of those times we waited for that call or email...life or death in the form of scan results..having to wait weekends...having no answer...even though we both had the peace and faith the tension was heavy and deep...having to show nothing to the kids , family or friends...it was so hard....Love on the Frontlines...not in a battlefield....but in life....the enemy was cancer...had the chance to serve next to you....and I would have switched places in a heartbeat with you if it was possible and I think you understood that because you never would have let me...and I understood that....thats the Purple Heart of life...giving yourself up for others...and you lived that everyday....and as your pain increased and the enemy crept closer and closer....as we realized that our weapons of Switz mass destruction had utlimately ran its course....as we realized no new strategic plans were being drawn up in HQ in Shadyside we cursed the enemy and instead of waiting....you kept on ....you didn't stay hidden in a trench...you flaunted and taunted the enemy by living each day as if the enemy had no say....the raw feelings that I have right now recalling all of that is like yesterday...sorry going to walk away for a moment....
It was like fighting knowing you had been exposed to a fatal amount of Chemical weapons and it was just a matter of time...yet you go on...accomplish the mission your Commander in Chief from the heavens above had given you...I stop again...killing myself right now(sorry bad choice of words)....
So Pat Benatar was right in a way...Love is a Battlefield...but not like she envisioned it...love is a battlefield because at some point if you love someone you are going to have to serve...you are going to have to be prepared to live or die for that person if the love is deep and true enough...you are going to carry that person through every enemy booby traps and attacks and know that you will make it....or you will die trying...I guess thats it...that is what I felt the especially after April when the scan results floored us with the new tumors...and when we were told to concentrate on quality of life not the battleplans of fighting...we both knew deep down and talked about it finally the war was coming to a close...no more secret weapons..no more stealth tools...you weren't losing the battle but it was going to be over....(big distinction there...please note)...
I made the easy decision to make sure you were not going to be a forgotten "vet"...that you had the most comfort and could keep things as normal as possible...the enemy was always there...but never broke your spirit or won victory over your faith or will to live...my job was to make sure you had constant companionship(it cost me a few deals on the work side....but I have the rest of my life to worry about that)...my job was to make sure you knew you were fighting for the right cause(when you would ask what if the kids only remember me as sick...or "I am a terrible wife and mother")..bullshit I would counter with immediately...pray with you...and reenforce that your battle assignment was worth every last ounce of tears...my job was easy....just doing what was the only thing anyone would do in that situation....you inspired me daily...you made me appreciate life in a way that I had somehow misplaced...you just lived and loved and did what you were going to do...screw the enemy ravaging you from the inside out...you didn't give in and because of that the enemy lost because you left a thousand welcomes to say goodbye to you and to celebrate how you lived...not how you died...thats the key...we remember how you went about each day...(take that cancer)not how you went to heaven...we obviously know that you went to heaven...and are no longer here....and we cry...and we miss you...but what made you Sunny was not that...you had no control over that....none of us do...but every choice you were presented with to live or to punt...to live or to quit...you chose to live....you chose to impart on your kids, me, family , friends, a blog community, a carcinoid cancer community that anything was possible through Him...and you didn't just talk the talk you walked it...you spread that message daily even though the countdown had begun...you are the strongest, bravest , brightest shining star of a person I know....and it was truly my privilige and blessing to have loved alongside with you....I wouldn't trade it for anything...I would reenlist in a flash...
Well thats where this talk went tonight...I am glad I redid this because this is what I have been trying to figure out how to express for two months now...and maybe a better analogy or emotional outlet will come up but this is how I and I am sure anyone who has lost a loved one that they "served" with and "loved" with feels...thats it...I am drained...goodnight...