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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our International Cancer Journey--5 Years Later.....

Sunshine I Love You....Its a week before Christmas and with everything that we have going on for some reason earlier today I was taken back to where we were five years ago...getting ready for that first trip to Basel....and so I am going to share what the feeling is like now...not revisiting old posts...don't need to...I have been encouraging everyone to give of themselves this holiday season and to not stress the small stuff...create an experience...give your time...give your presence...and so when I look back to where we were five years ago the week before Christmas I can describe the emotions...the feelings...the whole need for a DVR...and this is not a downer conversation sweetheart...this is just what it is...because as I look back for some reason on that week I am not sad...tears I guess a little...but not sad...memories...seared in my brain...wouldn't push reset on that time at and I both knew that those three trips to Basel invoked so many different parts of the emotional yanked at the rope that was our faith....but also brought us so much closer together than we had been since before the kids were was literally you and I (and yes for a great few days each time Peter....)isolated with each other and our faith halfway across the world...some kind of crazy cancer forced Euro honeymoons....but this week five years ago we didn't know that yet....

This talk is not for anyone other than you and I but I will share it...this is not to encourage or discourage....just a honest stripped down to the core honest recollection of where we were five years ago...yet I know that we should share it because five years ago seems like yesterday yet so much has much was much was much was experienced and so much is gone....don't take anything for granted....don't waste this chance we have here to Love each other and maybe just maybe show what that Love looks like cancer and all...we grew closer...we fell in Love more with each step of that journey because we chose to...and as that Love strengthened....nothing could come between us....nothing could ever remove the sense that all was good...because He was with us and in charge and if we kept supporting each other....pushing each other...hugging and Loving each other who the hell was going to derail blessed...

Yet I digress....five years ago this week before the holidays was one of had been a whirlwind few months leading up to this week....diagnosed again that the cancer was back...ravaging the liver...chemo-immobilizations at Presby...researching potential cures which led us to Europe...having to raise the funds....first wiffleball tourney....first race...all of that....sitting down with our couch seemed so small....not big enough for all of the tears that fell that night...looking back I see now how we had so much to much to much to take action much to pray much to just take care of that we didn't have time to have our heads spin....that would happen later...we were going to Basel frickin Switzerland home of Novartis  on January 2nd...treatment for Monday the 5th...although we had honeymooned in Jamaica neither of us had ever even had to get a passport let alone been to Europe...and what the heck was Basel...internet research....real center...old city...modern banks...cold....say what???? bet....apprehensive....damn straight...scared...of course...what if scenarios running through our heads....we talked about them every night that week five years ago....what kind of Christmas could we have just in case it was the last one....did we do enough to get the kids invading our space...had to....lists to write for kids numbers for contacts...dinner drop off lists....laundry instructions....rides to games...practices...Pivik teacher contacts...prayers....would New Years suck????would this be the last holiday season....did we forget anything....wills done?????.....we had so much stuff to try to get our arms around that at night when I would wrap my arms around you and squeeze probably too tight in hindsight but not wanting to ever let you go that you were too tired to say "let me sleep" were already...

We had faced a Cancer Christmas before in 2004 when you had the right lung basically was a hard road back but life was getting back to life was better than normal...we had taken on the challenge....had been blessed with His healing touch and we had learned from the point where I think we had put it out of the realm of possibility that it would return....I know I was back to my things are great life is a party outlook on were feeling great looking even better and really running this ship we called a when this had been a real awakening...not that it should have had to have think when you have beaten it twice...have had three miracle ovary and all...with everything we had been think you would appreciate each day as a gift...the did...I slipped back into the trap of feeling we were invincible...immune now...God had delivered us again....late 30' was a party because we had beat last call so to yeah honey...I wish I wouldn't have pissed away a few of those moments in hindsight....but again I digress...

This was cure...brutal treatments here...Europe....story now was all over the local media....the articles in the Advanced Leader...the whole community knew we were going to Europe...they rallied behind us...amazing outpouring of Love that is still humbling me five years later...but this story was evolving so the supermarket getting hugs and best wishes and if you need church...called up front for the school bus the gas station was an unbelievable few months leading up to this week five years ago....

So there we bed....the kids would have their last day before holiday break the next day a Friday...we had one of the most open I guess you could say life altering conversations we would have....never shared this openly...nor privately for that matter....we were both just reading our Bibles....or at least trying reached over to me....looked at me and asked "are we crazy for doing this?  What if it doesn't work?  Are you positive we are doing the right thing going to Basel?"


I hadn't expected that...I guess we both may have been thinking that as the tickets arrived...the plans were to the point that turning back was becoming less of an option everyday....I was reading James...actually had reread the same first few verses over and over because didn't want to turn the page...I don't know...but when you reached over like that I remember just reading that verse "Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance"....we laughed out loud at the irony....sat quiet for a minute...still holding onto each other....should we pray?....a few verses later on same page from James....."But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." we agreed that we faith that it was right thing to do....let it go...give it up...whatever and all of the above and that we would enjoy the next two weeks with our boys and family and friends....we would let it go....

Private moment....decision made...and once made we still had some nerves....but an incredible sense of peace...can't describe was as if the connection or realization was made that you and I were going to do this...halfway across the globe...He was going to be with us...and that was going to be good enough....that was yeah...this week five years ago was a hectic crazy period but ultimately a crossroads on our GPS of life that we had to chose the path....and glad we did....

So now five years later....a lot has happened since...but the message and lessons you tried to share even back then still hold true now...probably even more so....face tests and trials head on with His guidance....and have faith that it will be OK...get the big picture and don't ever worry or fret the small was an amazing time and I am so thankful we got to share it....