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



Monday, November 25, 2013

Stronger....Blessed...and Humbled....

I LOVE U SUNSHINE...I would say I miss you but I know you haven't been far or missed a single thing....but it is good to catch up with you and be able to share another one of our little talks...and yes I know you sent me heavenly b-day wishes today...you never did forget...should have known and expected it but I will elaborate more on that later....I want you to know that I have finally got to the point where I get that I am not alone...that feeling I had on Nov 3 as we closed the book The Year of First's....and I recall how last year on my birthday(mostly a blur...a fog..) how scared I was that I couldn't handle this...you gone...raising these boys...running a business...keeping the house functioning...everything....and I finally realized that I had to grab His peace that was offered to all of us...the peace that you seized upon to get you through no matter what...I guess I thought I had it to....but then I found myself riding that roller coaster...ups and downs...letting the situation of the moment control how I felt...not grasping that all of this down here is just temporary...all of it...and when I say don't sweat the small stuff I had to live like that....because I wasn't...its Ok to cry...its Ok to miss you...but with His peace I have the confidence to know that it doesn't define me...just like cancer never defined you...I get it...circumstances are what they are....sometimes even if we make good choices....but more importantly... He always is who He promised He is....and that trumps or kicks ass of any trial or test or small stuff that the schmuck below tries to bring us down with...so I get it...I still have a huge void in my world where you were...but I accept...I don't question...and I am confident that just like you faced with such faith dignity and calm every challenge...every scan...every procedure...every appointment...everything....that I have access to that same peace...and I chose to grab the heck out of it and quit trying to man up and do it on my own...He promised us all things are possible through Him....and since I am not able to make the blind see...raise the dead...walk on water...or turn water into Beam...sorry wine....just seeing if you were still paying attention...then I would be an arrogant SOB to attempt to even try on my own...or a fool...and so I have officially retired my spot in the Land of Foolishness...Love you...(had to say it again)...

So today being the big 43...(and as Alive and Kicking comes on....live version....ironic and awesome)...I am focused on three words for our talk tonight...Stronger....Blessed...and Humbled...no I recognize its not Faith Hope and Love but I will explain....I got the first glimpse into how much stronger we are this year (not through our efforts but by letting go as I explained earlier)....yesterday when Logan and I both somehow forgot it was the evening of his soccer banquet...thanks to texts from Debbie to me and to our other son O to Logan reminding us at 6:28 that the dinner portion was starting in two minutes and we managed to stay calm and make it there before  the actual program got started...Logan sitting with his teammates...me with a seat saved...and last year when it was held the day after you passed...or week after....it was all a blur...and how hard it was to see the seniors give their mothers flowers....this year I really felt the connection those boys had for their moms...and sure I realized that Logan won't be able to do that in two years...but instead of tearing up and having to step out for a few I was able to joke that I told Logan no need to give me flowers when the time came but I would take a hug...(and no I really did not tell him that...)....but as I looked over at him...he was the spitting image of Austen and his cousins....and you...and he was just being Logan...stronger...and blessed to have such a great bunch of teammates and for me to have such a great bunch of families that just well...that just...realize that you aren't here and they have taken it upon themselves to not let your boys nor me feel left out or whatever....I struggle to find the right words....but I guess the best way to attempt is this....I feel the love...the same type of love when I walk into  Thanksgiving dinner at either of our homes...that most of those people would do anything...heck some have already done anything out of love for you and by extension for us...and that's humbling...because its genuine and its unmerited...and well...I guess when we were blessed to find this little piece of suburbia outside of Yinzerville who knew it was a throwback to what America and her communities used to be like in the Norman Rockwell paintings....so we are stronger....we are blessed....and we are humbled...

And that brings us to the big 43....I was approaching this day as just another day...the 25th of November...sandwiched between the 24th and the 26th...not my 43rd...I wasn't down or in a fog like last year...I simply played it low-key...the man-childs had a hectic schedule...an exit test scheduled for Logan's concussion clearance(or so I thought but more on that later....) at 2:45...Nolan has a big test tomorrow and was going to stay late to study and had to arrange for a ride....I had to take him back to school by 5:30 for hoops practice...and Ace after spending Saturday night and most of yesterday in bed with some kind of one day stomach bug had practice...then immediately after had this Make a Wish fundraiser at the school "Buy a Guy" where he and four of the gang were the mystery men juniors chosen and which started at six...and tomorrow is Nolan's first jazz band concert and first hoop scrimmage...and a snowstorm as you know was promised and hyped for sometime late this evening...and the Denali needed a little attention so a quick trip to Jim and Tim sandwiched around the bank and Rite Aid for a medicine pick up....anyways....I didn't want a cake...I didn't offer to take the boys shopping for me nor did I expect any gifts...and I didn't remind them this morning hey its my b-day....and I didn't care when they forgot before rushing out the door for school...and so I may have screwed that whole approach up or maybe not...but what I did realize later that the one thing I still struggle with the most with them is communication...I should have just asked them hey what do you guys want to do for my b-day...instead of I guess making the choice for them...by letting it slip by and assuming they wouldn't care...Ace actually did go out at some point and get me a present...(shot glasses and the Vacation movie collection on DVD...awesome)...Logan tonight after we got home really wanted to know where the cake was....and Nolan right before we left for practice said he was sorry but he thought next week was my b-day because it is always after Thanksgiving and that he had a present he had picked out but not up yet....so yeah...I felt like I could write a chapter in the Wyle E Coyote Super Genius Book of Parenting...

But....hold on...slow down...before you start getting the Angel Army of Widowered Idiots all on high alert I want to share what an amazing day it turned it out to be...and I did share this with them...and I will remind them again in the morning...they made my day so frickin special without even knowing it....and yes I know you played a part too as I will get to...let me take a small step back and say it actually started right after I shooed them out the door...I had already received texts and FB wishes before I posted first thing in the morning...and it was easy to make that post a positive message so stronger...and as day went on and the comments and wishes kept coming it was humbling to learn that this is a blessed life...touched upon by so many...interwoven...social media at its finest...can't even thank enough for all of the positive feedback and just best wishes from so many from all over literally....it is well....I move on....don't want to tear up now...

So then the gifts start coming....first we go to Logan's appointment...turns out Mr. Einstein i.e. me had the time...Ok...the day and time wrong....wasn't today at 2:45...tomorrow at 4:00....he was already anxious to get cleared...and then "luckily" they had a cancellation so could take him...."Luck" my ass....then Logan is given a clean bill of health...no more concussion symptoms and I know you get how much of an answer to prayer that was....so many...no make that too many of our friends have kids that are still dealing or have dealt with extended concussion issues and it is a scary thing....I know how you hated not being in control of your fight...and let me share with you that we followed the plan the doctors gave us...but you just never know....but you trust....you have faith...you are blessed....humbled and grow stronger when you get news like that....thanks Logan (really Big Guy using Logan)....for that first great gift....

When we get home Nolan is back and he is reviewing again for his big test tomorrow before we leave for practice...I happen to check then their grades again on Parent Portal and he is one B short of all A's....and he is nervous about that one B....and I think damn...he is built like me but wired like you....your not good enough unless its perfect attitude...my could care less if I got all A's great but I never really wanted to work at it....(just a natural genius haha....)...if there was ever a stronger reminder of how much of you is wired in him I guess I have missed it or overlooked it recently but at that moment...5:06 PM November 25....no make that my 43rd....I got the message...and the gift....thanks Nolan....(and again to Him for that)....so stronger....blessed....and humbled as to how great these young men are becoming...and how much you touched them.....

And then we get to the fundraiser....and I admit I had no clue as to how big this thing was or really what it was....I knew five of them out of the couple hundred Junior boys were asked to participate...and they worked hard...costumes...dance routine....had to be in disguise unlike the 30 senior boys who also worked hard and were great but did so with bios and no mystery...and to think these were Ace and four kids I have coached and known and seen grow up into fine young men and still call me Coach Mark and wish me happy b-day....frickin awesome...they blew it away....every boy worked and did great not just our gang....all combined thousands were raised for Make A Wish....Stronger because didn't need a drink on my b-day...wanted to be there for him...blessed to see the performance and he went for $225...and he gave his time to do it...he got your message...blessed to give back...and humbled....as adult family friends hugged and gave b-day wishes....and then teen after teen....Mr. Carney....Coach Mark....Mark....happy b-day and/or happy Thanksgiving....felt like I could be mayor of the HS....(if they let old farts in haha shut up....).....Thanks for the gift Ace....you were awesome....and the other two man-childs watching with their friends because they wanted to be there....and laughing at Ace's routine....and his boys...honest smiles....genuine laughs....strong laughs....strong boys....blessed boys...humbled dad....it was an awesome 43rd.....

I was wrong....it wasn't just November 25th....it was my 43rd....but you knew that....that brings us to your gift....(as Sweet Dreams comes on...and the snow falls gently glistening pure on a cold Yinzer night)....as I sit waiting for Logan to go through his test...it takes about an hour...and am between work calls....I see a local number not identified...and you know how we quit answering strange numbers because the ghosts of unpaid but fighting hospital bills appear at strange times...well anyways...I choose...OK....I am led to say "Hello Mark Carney:...and its Karen from the Advanced Leader.....out of the blue...haven't spoke with her in months...she is doing an article for right before the holidays about local families that have suffered a loss...and how they handle the holidays....old traditions and new traditions...and I wasn't going to share this much about her story but....I got the chance to talk with her for over a half hour(no I didn't miss the end of Logan's test and report...thanks for asking....)....and just share how we are stronger...blessed and humbled....and no I won't give the specific details....I don't know what she will choose to put in and won't tip off her story...but it was an awesome tearless opportunity for me to share your message of Faith Hope and Love...see how it all circles back...and to be sitting there....out of nowhere....I got to share about the Sunny Tree fundraiser for Toys 4 Tots at Somma's....I got to share how certain dear friends had just volunteered for the fifth I think straight year to come over and do the holiday decorating and she wants to quote them and send a photographer over for the article....who else but you would take my quiet b-day afternoon and make it a press event promoting the positive message that life really does go on....and that we are stronger....and that we are blessed with dear friends...and how frickin humbling that is...enough said...thanks Sun....I should have known you would not have missed a birthday.....

And before I say goodnight Sunshine....if I have done my math right...this is the 67th little talk that I will have actually shared/posted since...well you know...I keep getting comments saying what an inspiration....your writing or your words pick me up....or bring tears whatever...that this and some of my FB posts actually are something some people are touched by...again...not to beat a dead horse...but stronger as I feel led to share this...blessed to have been part of such a Faithful journey with you my other half...best friend...cancer conquerer...selfless...giving...an angel here on earth is how I would put it....and oh yea...my wife...(blessed and humbled I was and am....as you were strong....)....you always said it was never your intention to be all of that when your started this....you were just trying to stop all of the phone calls from your big ass family and circle of friends that I was getting bombarded with...and so when all of the "inspiring" talk came you were honestly dumbfounded....but I think He was using you...I told you that...and you realized that after awhile...well I just started doing this because I made you a promise I would...I never thought I could or would do it for this long...I was just trying to put into words feelings to you to help me cope...(so many unpublished posts on this computer will attest to that....haha...shut up...you didn't post all of yours either missy...)....but I have been feeling a tug that this may be more than just us having little late night talks...so I have decided that when I get to 100 published....whenever that is....two-thirds there...I will get Tracy to help "When The Sun Goes...There Is Still Light(100 Little Talks)....and I think I will use your last few really awesome posts as the Prelude...Its a goal...it will keep this going because its not easy....Kleenex shareholders ain't complaining though....and I guess I get now why you were led to keep it going...if it helps one person and only two get printed....one for me and one for that person...so what...I will have it side by side with yours...my wife....her words....her fight...her Faith...right next to mine...can't think of any other books to sit next to The Book here in this house...you were incredible...tired yet pressed on...in pain yet took care of us ....family...friends...this community...its the least I can honor you with...

I am done....sorry for pulling you away for so long from the glories up there....but I needed this.... Stronger....Blessed...and Humbled...

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH SUN

ME