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, January 15, 2013
Please Don't Quit....
And keep in mind that this story isn't even about cancer directly just partially...but as you always said..and believed...each of us has a "cancer" we fight...each of us has that challenge to face..and for some it just happens to be cancer...but all of us have tumors of different kinds and forms in our bodies, or our hearts, or our minds....that was something you always talked about at your speaking engagements...true then and true today....so I didn't know where this story came up tonight...but it did...so here goes...
I was actually trying to go home after the end of the JV game and come back at halftime...(yes had a work call scheduled at 8:00...don't question my priorities and the bills at the same time not fair Sunshine...)but he corraled me by the stand as I was scarfing my carb friendly walking taco sans chips and served custom style in a bowl down and I won't mention names but he is one that always followed to the door....or grabbed you at a game when you were just trying to watch...and was always sharing something...I admit I usually tuned him out employing "selective listening" technique and nodding until he was done...but tonight I was literally walking out...and no escape...we go out the doors...and he stops me on my shoulder...."been reading your blogs....been praying for you and the boys...want you to know if ever need anything let us know....and I want you to pray for a college friend of mine...great guy...some really unbelievable stuff happened right around Christmas and he has faith but its getting tested for sure...do you have a minute?"
Famous last words...if there was a bench outside the gym I would have booted the pigeons and sat...but instead I said "well I was..." but then something stopped me...probably you kicking me in the heavenly rear...."no I have a few minutes...and thanks for the dinner a couple of weeks ago...amazing.."....
Now so close...(and I stop for a sec because I Can Only Imagine just came on...God I love this song...and I know you did....LETS TAKE A STATION ID BREAK)....ok Sunshine back....sorry...messed up ...way too long....I LOVE U....I am choked up a little right now because when I shifted course a little bit with this talk of ours and switched the Pandora to MercyMe station I prayed that if this was meant to be our talk for tonight...(because its a hard one at times) then I would hear I Can Only Imagine in the first half hour....stupid I know...but well....stupid is stupid asks stupid gets answer so stupid goes on....so anyways he is so close that I can smell the hot dog he must have ate before spotting me...and he starts to tear up....great....I swear I felt you kick me in the butt again..
"My friend is an old college teammate of mine...stayed down south after we graduated....has...well had one of the biggest regional investment firms based out of Birmingham...first class guy....great family....lots of kids...ten in fact...great loving wife...active in charities and she loves to host fundraisers and such....I think she may have sent a check to Sunny for the wiffleball...(Ok I think so that connects us...still not really paying full attention)...it would have been the second one I think...oh well let me get back to story....company is one of largest employers in Birmingham and for that matter Mobile and Montgomery as well....do work with pension accounts...private wealthy investors...makes a great return for his clients..always outperforms the market...says his key to success is his faith...every day gets up and prays for his family....knows that sometimes the 'Silverspoon' can trip people up...opens each board meeting with prayer..very God focused..."
And then he paused for a moment to catch his breath or check his emotions...so now I am almost rapt with attention...waited for him though...inside crowd going nuts in background as I guess Plum was blowing them out....
He finally continues....taking off his glasses to wipe his eyes..."So anyways on the Sunday night before Christmas he and wife get a phone call from his private jet time share operator saying there had been a crash in the Carribean and it was his plane...the one all his kids and his five grandkids were on....no plane or bodies recovered as of yet...full search and rescue but not much hope....thing was almost new....only a few thousand airmiles on it....no weather...just dropped off radar...they were coming back to Birmingham for the holiday...presents were already stacked under tree...sorry...."and again he wiped tears..."he was told nothing he could do right then...stay tight...and if wanted to fly down in morning they would be more than happy to give him use of another jet gratis..stunned....I am sure he prayed...what they always did...hosted every church function at the estate etc....he is a good man....Monday morning day before Christmas as he preparing to see if he should fly off or not gets a call from the Montgomery office...IT discovered that his top broker there had been running a Ponzi scheme for years...and had fled the country...no assets left...feds shut office down already and were announcing a full investigation...two of his key managers had taken their own lives when hearing the news...long time loyal servants of the company trust...damn..." again he stopped...now I was tearing up as well and kind of wishing I had not stopped ....that I had just said I had a call at 8....
He collects himself the best he can again and continues(told you this wasn't going to be easy)....."I am sure he prayed again before he even considered the financial ramifications, the legal and reputation costs...the lost children, the lost colleagues...when his wife came in and said he needed to get down to the office...there was some kind of an incident at the main office with a former worker or something and shots had been fired...police and swat were there...anyways...turns out the former cleaning guy had personal issues with one of the managers...and came in and killed three before shooting himself...the management team was basically gone from that office...they had assembled there by coincidence because of the news from Montgomery...so as he is on way he gets call from FAA rep saying that the search was being called off for the plane...no survivors but a full investigation was being launched into that particuliar model plane...I am not sure which one...he told me but I can't remember...."...I wanted to tell him it wasn't important keep going...but you know how details mattered to him....he rubbed his chin...until finally I said not important right now tell me when you think of it...so he started again.."so he goes down....does what he can as CEO and after hours spent consoling families that he had grown close with....after a press conference where he was asked about the plane, the shooting, the scandal...and even having some cub reporter ask 'is it possible they are all connected...'...he went home for Christmas Eve and to go to service....his wife told him to go alone..she wasn't in mood for giving thanks that night and how could he be?...he went....apparently went in and was shunned....either people that looked at him as a pillar just the week before didn't know to console him or were wondering what he had done or overlooked and God was paying him back...."...he stopped once more as a couple of students came out to get fresh air and someone came out to smoke....
"So he gets home from church...not bitter at God...but he told me he was a little frustrated by his fellow Christians....his friends...those that supposedly had the love of the baby Jesus and on that night in particular...whether he slept or not I don't know...but he said he went to bed..and that his wife wouldn't even hug or hold him...Christmas morning as he was driving down to the shelter where he always served Christmas feast to the homeless and less fortunate...and knowing his three board members who always joined him wouldn't be by his side he got another phone call...remember the videos of the Christmas day tornadoes that hit Mobile...."he paused...let out a big catch his breath sigh or whew not sure which....then"the building his office was in was the one that got pretty much leveled downtown...his IT guy and a security officer killed....all of the backup computer files destroyed in the subbasement as the building collapsed and the feds were going to need that for their investigation...he has to readjust his schedule of course...his wife calls about should they make funeral arrangements...cameras and news trucks were outside the gate...he went and served food for a half hour and when one of the other volunteers asked why he was there and said 'doesn't make you feel like your God is with you....even on Jesus birthday'...or something like that he told me..and my friend told me he said right back...'You are talking foolish...should we accept good from God and not trouble?'...damn he so strong....his faith..anyways...moving it forward he got a call Wednesday morning seven AM from his doctor...last physical done for insurance policies showed irregular blood counts....wanted him to come him before the end of the week for more tests...well we caught up yesterday and I was hoping to see you tonight because he has shingles and tumors that they can treat...not fatal but radiation and chemo is going to be tough...his wife and the remaining three "friends' from his church are telling him to quit be so frickin positive and how can he spend so much time praying when he should be at meetings with feds...the funerals for his kids were last week by the way...so the feds gave him a grace period...or he should be researching treatments instead of looking up bible verses...and what had he done to cause all of this?...can you believe they actually said that and these suppose leaders of the church said if they were in his place...they would say screw it....God left us and go to Vegas and make a personal Hangover sequel....I know he just nodded...probably said 'I know my God can do all things: no plan of his for me can be thwarted...'...and then I am sure he prayed..."
So now its hafltime...the doors are bustling with people pushing against us...I grab him(ironic I know dear) and move behind the Franklin team bus....he was tearing up ....again...but I think of relief that he had gotten this far into the story which I was still wondering what the heck was the reason for telling me this...I couldn't see how I could help this guy or his family...or our friend in front of me...this wasn't really a cancer story as I mentioned earlier...but I was invested in this story by now and I had to ask or at least figure out why....
So after he waited for a few kids to walk past us on way to wherever..."I bet you are wondering how all of this ties into you...and why I am here...I wasn't sure myself....but something told me tonight that you were going to reach out to people or maybe just one person in the blog...who was at the end of their rope...or felt as if God had abandoned them and I had to grab you and share this...I know my friend will be OK by the way...I saw online this morning feds captured his colleague at airport in London...accounts partially saved...his doctor is certain he will beat the cancer...and they had a record breaking year end announced earnings...record dividends once everything is back up and running...he is going to move on and live in faith...and love...and not question why..even if those around him ....those he loves...do question and have fleeting faith at times..."
Well Sunshine...heres the kicker...I took a quick nap or so I thought when I did leave the game for about an hour tonight...and was reading the story of Job...thats right...look back through this and realize that if we can't relate to the old testament version of the man who God literally turned his back on for a period of time...but by his rules not the devils...but this man who never turned his back on God...hopefully we can relate to this fictional Birmingham broker...anyways someone or somebodies were meant to hear this tonight....and please don't go by the book of Plum mark...go to JOB...its right before PSALMS...or go to whatever scripture usually strengthens you and read it...and reread it...and trust it...like Job actually did and this guy above did in marks make believe land...I know this wasn't easy to read...and was a bit long..but I prayed...and I went with it....Oh well...if not at least you and I Sunshine can have a laugh about my attempt at a 'message'....