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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunny & Mark

Sunshine I am going back and forth with what to talk about tonight....not for a loss of words(you know that was rarely an issue) but because my mind is getting pulled in different directions...I had a follow up just about done yesterday to continue with our early years...but I wasn't entirely happy with it....(alright so I didn't save it right apparently...never could BS you) I LOVE U and now lets go...I came across a version of the Beatitudes in the "grieving handbook" and I want to start by sharing it with you because two are such different translations yet hit home so deep with what we talked about the last two nights that...well you will understand...

"You're blessed when you are at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you.  Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. "  Matthew 5:3-4 MSG

Holy cow Batman.   I don't know what to say because these verses translated this way really hit home.  Comforting.  I didn't mean to be so flip earlier with the three most important words...I LOVE U....never will take those words for granted...may say them to others but will only capitalize them for you green eyes...So those two verses are a nice ribbon to wrap up the past two days as I struggled with how to express what I was feeling....loss but not despair...hurt but not without comfort...human side wanting to lash out and ask why why why but spiritual Mark taking control and realizing we are past why why why and time to grasp that you are in his hands and we are too....time to apply what you shared with us about footprints and how you can't leave them if you don't "walk on"....

I wanted to tell you that I think I may have given some people the wrong idea about our love....not that it wasn't everything I wrote and more...but that it was somehow easy...and true love...and I wish I could have what you two had....well you and I both know that the word love is a requires an requires work at can never be can lead to passionate loud can lead to door slamming and can lead to words said in heat of moment that were later wished unspoken...but then it leads to realizing that this is not a perfect our love could never be perfect as deep as it was...but we sure were going to try....too many punch out way too soon not realizing that love is a bond that will get tested...each test passed further strengthening the cord that know the old "been there done that" lesson we file away for later...

Cancer only intensified all of the emotions that we as humans deal with...especially two as strong willed , stubborn, and in love as the two of your pain increased,  as sleep became measured in naps not REM, as things changed inside, we had some pretty intense "discussions" that the neighbors might have heard....I remember going out front one Sunday afternoon and chopping down the dead tree in the front yard....( u were nagging at me for awhile to get rid of it anyways)because I felt helpless to ease your pain and was tired of arguing at that moment...I don't even recall what we were "discussing" I am positive it was Earth Altering...Don't sweat the small stuff was one of your favorite mantras to live by and yet it was always the small stuff we seemed to snap at each other towards the end...if we didn't have that release for each other we would have gone crazy literally I think or taken it out on others who may not have understood....we could do it because we could....huh?  we knew that flipping out on a fish smell in the kitchen or a toothbrush knocked on the floor next to the crapper was an opportunity to vent some steam....but it led to hugs, praying together, and a feeling that something was off our chests....when you really really love someone....I am not encouraging arguments but if you really really love someone you will realize not to take things personally...that the basic fiber of the cord that binds is intact....that the ride isn't over so don't punk out....I didn't air any dirty laundry Sunshine I just wanted to make sure that everyone realized that when you are in love that isn't a force-shield against disagreements...but that when you are in love you never forget that....its so simple.....I LOVE U....thats it...didn't matter what was said in the heat of the just didn't change anything...

I am not just speaking out of our story alone...any couple that has been successfully together for a lenghty period of time has the same stories to share if they would fess up...look at the bible know Adam and Eve fought after they got kicked out of the garden...Abraham was told by Sara to bang the servant girl...that had to be a few conversations that never made it into the big book...Noah's wife probably wasn't real thrilled when he put his life on hold for years to build a boat for something called a flood that was going to come from someting called rain...Joseph had to have an angel intervene so as to not leave Mary...and Jesus who loved everyone especially his 12....scolded them repeatedly..."o ye of little faith"....Peter denied him three times after one of his 12 sold him out for thirty has its up and downs...that was my point...but I am so glad that we never got off the ride...because for every bump there were so many more moments of the rush...the adrenaline rush of love...when we got to hold each kid for the first time after being told it wasn't possible to have kids...ain't a ride made by man that can equate the intense rush of that...when we got news that tumors had shrunk or counts were up....damn...that was a rush...I could have whooped on James Harrison at that moment...then came the peace...the rush eases but a certain calming tranquil peace was always present with us...and made the majority of our time together sane in the face of potential insanity...

I remember one of the biggest rushes for me was when we left Chars party(for our first time readers visit the blog Then and Now) was we wound down from behind the old Pitt stadium and we laughed about how pissed off TD(the other Mark who by then you were starting to refer as TD also) would be if he knew you were with me in a 1986 Pontiac station wagon...with an empty kit of Shark Bites in the back(not our smartest move and again not condoning or promoting drinking and driving...just because we were stupid doesn't mean it was an example to be followed)...your arm in the sling starting to bother you so you just ripped off the sling and tossed it in the back and said hell with it....and as I drove under I think Falk Clinic or whatever that building is called that sits back I drove under the building and as you tossed your sling you reached over and grabbed me, pulled me towards you by the neck...and said "I had fun, lets go get something to eat...."and I think were about to kiss me as I said"Shit.." swerving to avoid the big blue Panther emblazoned garbage can strewn across the intersection...of course the swerve caused a sharp blast of pain in your bad arm as you hit if off the door...but at that moment...and although maybe I should have stumbled out of the car to move the can...I leapt out...sprinted and hoisted that mf'er into the hillside and was on top of the world...that was the rush I am talking this case literally a sobering rush....didn't matter if never got the kiss that was coming...the groundwork was laid and again going back to love is a verb....the groundwork was meticously put in place so that you were not going to have me tell you to leave would reach that conclusion yourself...with the help of groundwork and him being TD...As we laughed/cursed me for not paying attention.....just for a minute...and then you laughed as pain eased...but we agreed maybe should call it a night..we were driving up Forbes by CMU and with the windows open and your hair blowing...your laugh, your hand on my shoulder as you were at that moment the hottest woman I had ever seen but we were having a were laughing at whatever stupid groundwork building crack I was were listening...first time in my life at that point that I had ever respected a woman for her sharp humor and wit...(sad but true)....and it was rated PG but so perfect...we got to your house...(I was hoping the warden who I had met for all of two minutes wasn't a night owl) and as we hugged quickly goodnight just in case he was watching said..."Lets do this again."  me..."sure" out and I walk you to door and you go ....Me....on top of the world...f ya....f ya...sorry wasn't the prettiest of language but it was the rush of the moment...

So I think this is a good place to stop....covered our first "date" time we go visit the first kiss...and yes just a teaser it was you who leaned into me and said "shut up and kiss me"...(I guess part of that is believable to the outside world if they know me and part of it isn't if they remember you)....but thats for tomorrow....

One last thing Sun,

I LOVE U....always....