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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Riding the Coaster of Life From the First Car

Sunshine...I LOVE U....Wow...what an up and down day this I am struggling tonight not to have our talk...but to keep it even of course saw the title and can put two and two I guess in the interest of full disclosure Sun....this is probably going to be one of those talks like we had late at night....three or four in the and I...(and the Big Guy....although sometimes he probably covered his ears...)...those talks about the day we had ...the good ...the bad...the ups and the much our life had evolved...was blessed we were despite the tumors that kept you up to three or four in the morning and made those talks possible in the first place...we never looked at it as anything but a blessing...I still find that remarkable...I knew I was always a Chuck Tanner Glass isn't just half full its about to get topped off...type...but your faith and positive attitude wasn't an wasn't for was you...and it still blows me away right said from to time to time before you were diagnosed that I lived in a world with "rose colored glasses...Marks world"....I don't think you were necessarily being kind but you know what as I reflect and look at what has happened since 11/3...(Sunny gets her wings...for you newbies..)....I think the fact that my nature  of humor and "not facing reality" as you put it gave  you some comfort that if the fight were to be fought then you could count on me to be a positive force...not a debbie downer....

I only mention this now not as a pat on the back but to tell you thank you....not a lot of people would have put up with a freespirited screwup like me for all of those years..but you did...and I came around...and I helped you stay focused and positive....and you taught me to stay even more scripture....and leave footprints...make a difference for someone else...anyone can give when its good but he is really blessed who gives out of nothing...and I not talking about money here(yea I know its tight but the deals are coming....haha...shoosh...)...I am talking about your emotional you had anything to give to others when they called or texted or emailed you had gas in the tank leaves me with such a great memory of you...emotional and tear jerking yes...but great...I know how tapped we were on treatment days or bloodwork days..or pain you just wanted help getting in the house...shooing the "dumb dog" from jumping on you...getting your Turners Diet Iced Tea and hitting the bed to nap before the kids got home...and then ten minutes later when I would go to check on were on the phone with someone who had a need....I thought I was living its better to give than receive....but I was still in preschool and you were graduating with a masters..I LOVE U...

How did this come up?  Had to go to another viewing tonight...Susan's dad....second one in three days with a funeral service squeezed in why do I bring this up...not sure but I am running with it so shssh...the footprints you left behind aren't just to be stepped in....they are just the start of the path....I realize that now..they are did nothing of course they are really entrenched...but we are not to only walk in them....we have all done that...I just recognized that the real meaning of the concrete footprints is to keep the path, trail, journey, whatever it is going...all of us can do that...lets face it none of us can step in anothers shoes....certainly not yours toots...but we can learn,  and continue....and so that is what I have been trying to do with those that have reached out recently needing some words to pick them up or to just know that someone is there....I don't even know what I am supposed to tell them often but the words somehow come....and that babe is the footprints...that is your lesson on my life...because you know one...I hated Facebook..I despised it...I made fun of you for using know how I loved to leave my comfort zone....did I mention I still sleep on the same two feet of our bed...still go to two restaurants...still drive same old SUVs....still have same....well you get the point...I am not designed to be quiet...but only in my comfort zone...I have had to reach out past the borders of that zone....thanks for the kick in the as long as no one figures out I am just an eclipse of the Sun...

What did these viewings teach me?  First you had to proud of all of your boys for going Monday night to Kristin's dad's (Ok Kylee's Pap also)....viewing....they cleaned up....they stayed and talked to our young Ms. Kylee (not just Austen but all three)...connected by a life lesson at way to young of an age...and having to get the "gear" on was so....well it was such a moment that I know you gathered all of your angel crew up there and sat and watched....the four of them laughing,  so brave,  just being kids....not bitter or angry....I choked kids should ever lose their mothers to cancer or anything else for that matter...but I can't tell you how proud I was at our boys being there for her....and for her strength as taught me how tasks can be overcome....Aunt Joan ironed their gear at the last moment....I had to help Ace with his dress clothes...I have learned patience....I have learned commitment to things like this....lets face it....I probably would have found a reason to drop you guys off and make a "work call to west coast" in the past....but when I told her we would be there it was....well it just was....

Tonights was a bit different and actually stoked this conversation for tonight which I will get to....patience ....I know its long...but I am not rambling and really am I keeping you from something up there....sorry...didn't mean it....anyways...Susan's (Thomson Watson for those who want to pray or reach out...) dad was fine just a few months was apparently a head spinning whirlwind last six weeks or so....especially since the holidays....she actually wanted to reach out to me for something....(still not entirely comfortable with my role on this path but trying just to go with it when its to take another step)...but wasn't sure or comfortable or didn't want to burden me...anyhoo...has a dear mutual friend reach out and ask me if I wouldn't mind just sending her a note...this was Sunday....I said sure...and I went and did it...for some odd reason Mr. Procastination didn't follow his norm...and you know....sorry I get choked a bit....she spent the last night that evening together with her his bed....his last night...she got back to me at 9:40 and filled me in...Mr. Thomson passed that morning....diagnosed Dec 5....Wow....I will let you fill in your own emotions for a sec...and now lesson learned...IF called do it now...I am so touched by the loss because of the suddeness of it....just like a certain angel had a sudden call to wings...but I am touched also by two things we talked about tonight at the viewing....first and most importantly Susan mentioned how her dad wasn't always the most religious man but he had seen Jesus towards the end , shared that with her mother, and found his peace...AMEN....its funny how a dude who is so ridiculed in the world can provide such grace and comfort in a case like this...grace because He doesn't hold it against us if we truly accept Him...thank you...and comfort for us here....knowing our loved one is up where you are ....

Second we talked about the last special it was for her and her mom to be there at the I am going to walk away for just a minute or ten...because this stirs "last night" memories...and it is such a powerful moment to hunker down praying...rubbing hands is such a strenghtening insight into what man is about to hold the hand of your loved one as they cross over...I can't tell you in words exactly...because there isn't enough words in our vocabulary....its truly a divine moment...and Susan and her mom experienced sucks in a big way...but it is so frickin reassuring now for me that I was there with always has been....I held your hand once before God and took you as my bride....I held your hand a final time as Jesus called you home to be his to stop again....    So I can relate to how they felt that last night....they did the sleepover at Shadyside....Dr. Friedland was there...she told me her dad opened his eyes and glanced back and forth back and forth back and forth at around midnight....wasn't something that was to happen....and she said she knew he was saying his goodbyes...I said just like your final thumbs up and squeeze...damn this hurts but I am going to finish....

So now I can come to the original intent of tonights talk sweetheart...I told Roz earlier that I was torn between another Peter story or Caleb from Numbers 13....I am led to run with Caleb...Lets recap the events of that story and tie it in to everything...Moses is trying to lead the people into the promised land of milk and honey...the people are afraid..they demand a recon team....God says get one from each of the 12 tribes....Caleb (Judah....fill in the blanks later for who else came from that tribe...) and Joshua are the only two of the 12 who return with a positive report....the other ten are fearful...sure there is milk and honey....its beautiful....but there are grasshopper eating giants...big dudes....trouble...we can't overcome it....Caleb silences the crowd in vs 30 and says"We should go and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." Of course they refuse to listen and suffer another 40 close....God is with them....they can see the milk and honey...but they are afraid to go get it...except for Caleb and Joshua....and I guess the point is are we like the other ten spies...can we see what He has in front of us and yet can scared off by things that seem unconquerable...or are we like Caleb(and Joshua) and know that with Him all things are possible...that we can slay whatever giants may come in the way of what God has laid out for us...

I tie this into certainly the families that lost their loved ones this week....they will have their giants in front of them....questioning the next step even if they sense God is with them....I was there...I am still there now and more than then...but I fight on(you taught me that)....tomorrow I will have and I think the boys especially Ace will have more giants in front of us....its Senior night for the basketball team...and I know how happy I am for those boys and girls who walk out with their parents...but I will have a giant in front of me trying to bring me down will wrench my gut I know...and maybe the boys as well( I am sure it will whether they admit it or not)....but ....sorry....Can u pray an angelic heavenly prayer that we make it through it and stay positive for those seniors.....they are all great kids....and that damn giant of "boy sucks your boys won't have that moment" is getting its ass kicked...because you left them with so much more than a walk to left them with a path clearly marked on how to live and leave please pray for Susan's family....kylee's family....Lorri Nixon...Hilton Head Lori,  Gunsales...Roz boy...Ace for strength..Logan for rest and peace at night....and Nolan for pain relief....and me for just being able to get by....

Thanks Sun for letting me bend your ear this long...