SUNNY CARNEY
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



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That Little Thing Called Wiffleball(Got Balls?)

Well Sunshine....I LOVE U....I MISS U....this will be a hard few weeks....I know I know move on...but grieving is something you take one step at a time...if it was so easy there would be one playbook...(that Book doesn't count per say though I read it daily...because that's the Book on how to live)....no there are whole aisles on the subject as I have learned....(not a very cheerful part of Barnes&Nobles I might add....be a good spot to be a tissue salesman though)...but if there was one script...one way to act...one way to handle it....there would be one book...that's it...but its complicated and changes like the wind...I am thankful that I have tethered my lifeline to the Rock so the winds don't blow me off course....oh I get yanked to and fro...I bump into electrical wires and get shocked....and it hurts...and I fight to avoid those grabbing snarling branches....that yearn to entangle the lifeline....but when all is calm....when the wind ebbs...the tether holds me fast....who knows where this poor Irish sap would be right now without that Rock...

Enough...I wasn't doing this tonight or early morning as it is to get all choked up in a negative means...I wanted to share and recall the joys and the message of what we experienced through that little fundraiser we called Got Balls?...Wiffleball...if you had told me way back when that you would be fighting a rare type of cancer I would have asked why you?....but would have had to at least accept that things happen....afterall we had to deal with tumors before we were married...on our honeymoon...before our kids...etc....if you had told me that the fight would take us to Iowa...to Tampa..to Nashville...and to Basel frickin Switzerland three times I would have said...well...I guess its possible...lets saddle up and go....(not that I had ever had of Basel....)...but if you had told me that we would be able to pay for a good chunk of the costs of the fight by organizing and holding an annual Wiffleball tournament I would have said...right...Wiffleball...that little white ball with the holes in it and the skinny yellow bat....that game we quit playing as we "grew up"....and just like in Toy Story 3...we discovered the opposite sex...Nintendo....quarters...whatever....that "kids game...?"..

Right....

So now I marvel...humbled...acutely aware that something ridiculously divine stamped its big foot right up the rear end of our life journey...as if any of us who joined you in the fight would have said..."yea...lets organize a wiffleball tournament...that will do it..."....

Right....

"And better yet...lets do it in the fall....no wait...mid to late October...with no rain heck no snow makeup dates...."...but there was more...so much more...."and lets not close registration for teams...because its the right thing...and lets have over 50 teams...and lets have faith it will work..."

Right....

I remember reading in the Book where He healed the sick....where He honored prayer...but I don't recall ever reading about Him blessing a little Wiffleball fundraiser...just a game...a kids game...and I think the prayers behind it...the faith...the trust...and it became possible...and a big part of the charm was the fact it was a kids game...and knowing how you felt about kids...any kid...the fact anyone could be a kid for a day by playing that simple little game...with family...with friends...and help raise money...it was ....like I said humbling to us....

But that was only the beginning of the story...the first one was organized in about two months...I can still hear Timmy telling me..."you know Wiffleball...someone else did this in Pittsburgh and it worked..."...he said it half or mostly as a joke as we both struggled with the fact that your best treatment option was in frickin a place called Basel...was going to be expensive and not covered...but also not going was not an option...WHATEVER IT TAKES...DO IT...that was your motto...that was how you lived before and after you got sick...I picture the faces of family and friends...."the Planning Team..." when we all met here on the back porch that summer afternoon because we had this great fundraising idea and we dropped the Wiffleball bomb on them....incredulous...not sure if we were serious...not sure if we weren't wasting our time...."come on Mark...lets do a spaghetti dinner....or a race...or walk.."(those came later thankfully of course)...put it this way....if we were playing Family Feud...and the question was How to Raise Money for Cancer....Wiffleball wasn't on the board....survey would have said....RAANNT...

But they all blindly went with the program...and what a special blessed group they were and are....and I don't need to mention names...they know its unspoken how their blind faith buying in made it possible to get overseas and have more time...wow...their faith and trust that it "wouldn't rain on Sunny"...and all of the work...and giving of their time....it was like our own little five loaves and two fish saga...

well take that back....You and I knew it was always beyond us...in fact we would joke it was despite of us...because for some reason He would use that little event....not just for your fight financially...it became so much more...it literally brought communities together....Plum and Greenfield....it brought families out to enjoy a magical day together...it brought old friends of ours who we had lost touch with back into our lives...it was about kids laughing and then being inspired by how you fought...it was about spending time with people you cared about....it was about neighbors....it was about teammates and classmates of our boys supporting them...easing their angst....even if it was just for a day...it was about teachers....teaching a life lesson about caring that no textbook ever could...message received...it was about DJ's waving their fees....it was about people giving...baskets...beer wagon...food....cooking...setting up and cleaning up...the Advance Leader writing your story and having I am certain to mention for the first time "WIFFLEBALL BENEFIT"....

Got Balls?  Really....

But like most of our journey together when we came home and finally shut the beer wagon down for the night...and went upstairs we were never at a loss for specific moments that left an indelible mark on our hearts...honestly I enjoyed those talks of ours on those V Sunday nights more so than when the money totals came in...and I don't have to say that of course the money was spent fighting via Basel and that you got your wings....and now just these memories/images remain....but I will....and I know as appreciative and blessed we were to have donations from Mario and AJ Burnett and so many other sporting local legends...and businesses...that you always commented on so and so's little daughter who gave her only dollar for a hair braiding...or about all the kids who dyed their hair matching team colors....or how people came from down South...the CMU hoop team...the Champs back from college each year...(you know I still have the jersey they made for you and that you wore with such humbled pride).....

It was about a dad wanting to celebrate his birthday by playing Wiffleball with his family...it was about this community telling me so many times..."thanks...we needed this....we never seen anything like this or met someone like Sunny..."....and us laughing because we knew it was Him...it was about kids inspired to the point they got mad at me this fall when I didn't hold the VI Got Balls....(we will do it in the spring I promise....)....it was about so much more than just a ball and a bat...and raising money....

So when I saw Austen and his teammates win the championship on Saturday...and my dad being there proud as can be...and how those same kids have embraced one of their own who has health issues....I was so damn proud....sports can help....

So when I saw the Steelers and Ravens kneeling on CBS in prayer after a hard fought game....it didn't matter who won...HE won...CBS forgot to switch cameras I guess and that image had over ten thousand hits when posted....

Life isn't a game....I know that...we know that...but as Wiffleball taught us.....by having faith...by trusting....anything is possible...even accepting that a life-saving trip to Basel can be paid for by a day of Wiffleball.....

So I ask...we got the lesson....two actually...Faith makes anything....no matter how stupid it may seem possible if you truly trust....and ....then you have to "GOT BALLS" to do it....Faith...and Action....


MISSING YOU SUN....LOVING YOU SUN....

ME