Special to Contractor
MARION, MASS. — Brad Sell, who made it his mission to educate the male-dominated plumbing-and-heating industry about early detection of prostate cancer, died of the disease June 16. He was 54.
Before Sell's diagnosis of prostate cancer seven years ago, he had served as executive vice president of the New England Wholesalers Association and president of Association Management Services, both in Milford, Mass. He also had been a manufacturers representative for plumbing-andheating products and was an ordained minister.
In March 2001, Sell was the subject of an Editorial in CONTRACTOR ("Take Brad Sell's advice and do yourself a favor"). The Editorial quotes Brad Sell telling Editorial Director Bob Miodonski, "Tell every guy you know to get a PSA."
At that time, many doctors would perform the prostatespecific antigen blood test only if the patient insisted. Sell made awareness of the PSA his personal crusade. He said that many insurance plans didn't cover the rather nominal cost of a PSA, although they would pay for expensive therapy once the cancer was diagnosed.
Along with trying to educate members of the plumbing-and-heating industry, Sell helped to develop a program called "Protecting Those Who Protect Us," which was designed to publicize the importance of early detection of cancer, preventive screenings and follow-up procedures to local police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and ambulance drivers. A former Eagle Scout, Sell had worked during the summers at home from Union College in Barbourville, Ky., as a special police officer and harbor patrolman on Marion Harbor.
More recently, Sell was honored in Massachusetts with the 2006 Community Service Award, Greater New Bedford Health & Human Services Coalition; 2006 American Cancer Society's Volunteer of the Year Award for Southeastern Massachusetts; and 2006 Mattapoisett Man of the Year. In April, a group of New England business leaders established the Brad Sell Fellowship Award to commemorate the selfless acts people commit toward improving the lives of others. Sell's message on early detection of prostate cancer may be viewed at www.bradsell.info.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Dawn Winkler Sell, and two sons, Dana Bradley Sell and Courtney Lange Sell. A funeral service was held June 19 in Marion.
Donations can be made to the Harvard Institute of Medicine; c/o Dr. Glenn Bubley; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, East Campus; HIM 1047; 330 Brookline Ave.; Boston, MA 02215.