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Nine-Year-Old Named 2008 Health Hero by WebMD

Young girl honored her father’s struggle with cancer by helping to raise more than $100,000 for prostate cancer research

November 11, 2008 -- Winter Vinecki, a nine-year-old girl who honored her father's fight against prostate cancer by helping to raise more than $100,000 for Athletes for a Cure and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), has been named a WebMD 2008 Health Hero. She is featured in the November/December print edition of WebMD and on the publication's online site.

"WebMD is thrilled to honor Winter Vinecki as one of our 2008 Health Heroes. She has devoted herself to giving back not only to her father but to many others battling prostate cancer, and that's the definition of a WebMD Health Hero,” said Colleen Paretty, executive editor of WebMD. "We honor Winter and others like her as a key part of WebMD's mission to inspire and improve the lives, health, and well-being of all Americans."

On his 40th birthday, Michael Vinecki was diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma. It is an especially aggressive form of cancer that attacked his prostate. In the six weeks between his diagnosis and a 12-hour Father's Day surgery at the Mayo Clinic, his daughter, Winter, was focused on forming Team Winter. Her original goal was to raise $10,000 for prostate cancer research, to make people aware of the importance of early detection, and to honor her dad.

Winter far exceeded her original goal. Participating in the Athletes for a Cure Triathlon held this past September in Orlando, Winter’s pledges accounted for $31,000 of the more than $100,000 raised by the event. Other triathletes, who participated in the event to raise money for the cause, were inspired by Winter's tenacity. They collected their pledges in the name of Team Winter.

"The Vinecki's are an incredibly loving and giving family," commented Scott Zagarino, managing director of Athletes for a Cure, an initiative of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. "They are some of our everday heroes, fighting for an end to prostate cancer. In spite of all they are going through, regardless of where life is taking them, they remain steadfast in their will to get the word out about prostate cancer and raise money for advanced research to find a cure. They are an inspiration for prostate cancer patients and their families everywhere."

"WebMD Health Heroes are the essence of all that we believe in at WebMD," said Nan Forte, Executive Vice President, WebMD Consumer Services. "Turning passion, knowledge and ingenuity into action, these individuals inspire us and we are honored to recognize them publicly for their outstanding personal achievements."

Prostate cancer strikes 1 out 6 American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 28,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2008 while more than 186,000 new cases are diagnosed. With the aging of the baby-boomer generation, the number of new cases diagnosed annually is projected to reach 300,000 by 2015—an increase of more than 60 percent—with an accompanying annual death rate of approximately 45,000. Early detection and treatment can result in a five-year survival rate of more than 90 percent.

WebMD the Magazine reaches an audience of nearly 9 million consumers, providing health content in an interactive format, with trusted health and wellness information on a range of topics including fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, parenting, and skincare/beauty. WebMD the Magazine is the third most-read magazine among all heath-related magazines, according to the MARS OTC/DTC national media and marketing study. WebMD the Magazine is available online at or at your healthcare provider's office.

About Athletes for a Cure

Athletes for a Cure, a program of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), is a fundraising and awareness program to assist individual athletes in their quest to raise money for better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. Every dollar raised from the program goes directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.


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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