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Nine-year-old Triathlete Spins into Action for Prostate Cancer

Winter Vinecki to join Chicago Spinning Nation team on June 28

June 25, 2008 -- Winter Vinecki, a nine-year-old girl from Gaylord Michigan, learned quickly that life is unpredictable. On his 40th birthday her father, Michael Vinecki, announced to his family that he had sarcomatoid carcinoma, an especially aggressive form of prostate cancer. Shocked by this rapid change in her world, Winter’s reaction as a young triathlete was to utilize her sporting skills to raise money for prostate cancer research. This Saturday, Winter, along with her three brothers and mom, will join more than 3,000 spinners at more than 200 gyms in 30 states raising money for cancer research as they join a spinning group at Chicago’s Crunch. For Winter, it is yet another unpredicted turn in her life’s journey.

Winter’s first goal was to participate in a triathlon on September 21st in Orlando and raise $10,000 for Athletes for a Cure, an initiative of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. She formed Team Winter—comprised of her and her older brother Yukon, 11—in honor of their dad. The team has already raised $850 in pledges. Just recently, Winter and her family were contacted by Crunch in Chicago to participate in the spinning event.

As it happens Athletes for a Cure is one of the three beneficiaries of the first national spinning fundraising event in history, Spinning Nation. When management at Crunch heard about Winter they invited her to come to Chicago with her Mom and three brothers to ride with their spinning team, if the family was up to it. Apparently they’d never met Winter Vinecki. In her mind saying “no” was not an option.

“Hearing of Winter’s commitment to the cause of ending suffering and death from prostate cancer, the team at Crunch was compelled to invite the Vineckis to Chicago so they could be among the thousands of people they’ve never met but who are there for Michael and the two million American men who are facing prostate cancer,” explains Scott Zagarino, founder and managing director of Athletes for a Cure.

On Fathers’ Day weekend, Winter’s dad Michael, who is also a triathlete, underwent twelve hours of surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to remove an eleven centimeter tumor and to repair the havoc the cancer had created in his liver and bladder. Just two week’s after his surgery he is fighting back with all the determination of a well-trained athlete, despite complications.

Winter’s mother, Dawn Vinecki, started a family blog when Michael was diagnosed. On June 14th she wrote: “Two steps forward, one step back…A new chapter now opens, one of healing. I can hardly wait until Michael is able to view the blog and the outpouring of love that has come in from across the United States.”

On June 28th that outpouring will become a flood when 34 of the 35 spinning bikes at Chicago’s Crunch (located at 939 West North Avenue) are filled by strangers fighting alongside the Vinecki family. The class will have one reserved but symbolically empty bike—Winter will riding next to her Dad.

Interested spinners can register for the June 28th Spinning Nation fundraiser by logging More information on the event can also be obtained by calling 541.386.5154.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research focused on discovering better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. Founded in 1993, the PCF has raised more than $370 million and provided funding to more than 1,500 research projects at nearly 200 institutions worldwide. The PCF also advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more governmental research funds. PCF advocacy has helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer since 1994. More information about prostate cancer and the PCF can be found at

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