When Prostate Cancer Strikes

Prostate cancer strikes 1 in 6 men in America (including my brother).  It is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

The family impacted by this disease sometimes suffers terrible loss; this was true of one young 8 year old and her family. But Winter Vinecki’s story, while truly sad, is inspirational, because of the way she responded.

In May 2008, Winter experienced personal hardship that would prove to be the defining moment in her life and career as an athlete. After a series of medical tests, her dad, Michael (right), was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer. The grim prognosis was met not only with sadness but with determination. Winter vowed to do everything in her power to put an end to prostate cancer and help find a cure so that other families wouldn’t have to endure the personal hardships that hers was going through. Thus, Team Winter became a vehicle for funding prostate cancer research and raising prostate cancer awareness on a global scale.

Since the passing of her dad in 2009, Winter’s determination has only grown. While maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA in Stanford University’s prestigious online High School, EPGY, she travels almost every weekend to races in which she, her three brothers and her mom, Dr. Dawn Estelle, spread the word about Team Winter and prostate cancer awareness. She runs a Team Winter booth at various expos and undertakes speaking engagements at schools with her “Winter’s Inspirational Talk Series”, all the while racing with unrivaled passion. Winter is the reigning two-time IronKids National Triathlon Champion. Each first place trophy she receives is sent to a person affected by prostate cancer as a means of support and a gesture of goodwill. While most kids cherish their trophies, she cherishes the people she gives them to.

Recently, Winter became the youngest person to run a marathon on every continent when she crossed the Athens Classic Marathon finish at Panathinaiko Stadium, the 1896 Olympic Stadium. All to help find a cure for prostate cancer, in honor of her Dad. Winter’s mother also ran all 7 continents with her and set a record as well for mother and daughter running together.

Watch highlights of her marathon in Greece in the video below.

We are proud that Team Juice Plus+ and Team Winter have teamed up;  Winter Vinecki is one of, if not THE, most courageous and extraordinary 14 years-olds on the planet.

winterWinter has used Juice Plus+ for nutritional support for many years and appeared at a recent Juice Plus+ Conference to share her story and how much she believes Juice Plus+ has helped her achieve her remarkable feats.

For Winter, it’s not about the attention. It’s about bringing vindication to her dad, who was given a death sentence in the form of prostate cancer; a disease in which one in six men will be afflicted with. She strives every day, sacrificing playtime and other luxuries kids her age take for granted to ensure that she is doing all she can to bring an end to this tragic and all-too-common disease.

Some may find it hard to fathom that a 14-year-old is capable of all of what she has accomplished, but for her, it’s only the beginning.

Winter is also the youngest and newest member to the US Olympic Development team for aerial skiing, Fly Elite. She lives and trains in Park City, UT and has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.