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Family honors father while aiming to aid others

Date: 1/25/2010

Jan. 25, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM -- He was a father, a firefighter, a coach and a volunteer, and now Brad Pinney is an inspiration.

Pinney passed away at age 58 in 2008 after fighting a six month battle with melanoma, a form of skin cancer. To honor his memory and to help others learn more about the disease that took his life, his family is hosting the first-ever Brad Pinney Wine Tasting and Silent Auction next month to benefit the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

"Helping people and giving back was the way my dad lived his life. He was energized by it," Nicole Farrell, Pinney's daughter, said. "From helping the community by being a firefighter, to helping the kids of the community through being a Scout Leader and baseball coach, to helping our neighbors build a new deck or fix something in their house to helping my brother and I with school projects, he just loved to help! He was an extremely thoughtful person and liked to see the results of the good he was bringing to people.

"I think he inspired others through his positive attitude and energy," Farrell added. "No job was too big or too hard and he did everything 110 percent. I know he inspires me every day."

Creating the wine tasting event, which his family hopes will become an annual tradition, isn't the only way Pinney has inspired others to help. Natalie DeAngelo, girlfriend of Brad's son Shaun, will be running the Boston Marathon this spring in honor of Pinney and to raise funds for the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

"Their [the Melanoma Foundation's] main goal is not research, but education about the prevention and early detection of melanoma," DeAngelo said.

"If Brad was living, he'd be doing something like this for someone else," DeAngelo continued. "We wanted to create something, do something that reflected the charity work he did in his lifetime."

The goal of the wine tasting and silent auction is to raise $10,000 for the Melanoma Foundation. Tickets for the fundraiser, which are $50 per person until Jan. 30, include complimentary wine tastings, hors d'oeuvres, a wide variety of raffle prizes and a cash bar. The silent auction will feature a week-long stay at a Cape house in Truro, Mass., a one-night weekend stay at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, high-end jewelry, art, a weekend stay at Sugarbush Resort, spa gift certificates and more.

Tickets for the gala, which will be taking place Feb. 20 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hampden Country Club, can be purchased through DeAngelo by calling (617) 413-9735. Tickets purchased after Jan. 30 are $60 each.

Donations are still being sought for the silent auction. Those wishing to donate an item should also contact DeAngelo by phone.

To give to DeAngelo's Boston Marathon fundraising, visit

"It is extremely important in my mind to spread awareness about melanoma," Farrell said. "People now know that sun protection is important but I don't think people realize how deadly this disease can really be. It brought someone who was larger than life, literally and figuratively, down, which was something I never thought could possibly happen.

"Our wine tasting and silent auction and our Pinney's Pub Crawl, which we are holding in Boston in March, are the exact types of things my dad would do if he could," she continued. "Our family had no control over his cancer but holding these fundraisers and spreading awareness is something positive that we can take hold of and make happen."