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Benni Cinkle From Rebecca Black's "Friday" Video Walking in Huntington Beach to Benefit Cystic Fibrosis on May 21, 2011
May 20, 2011 (03:05 PM EDT)


Benni Cinkle's family reports that teen took to Facebook to organize more than 250 virtual team members from around the world to help surpass her fundraising goal

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- She shot to Internet fame almost overnight as "That Girl in Pink" from the Rebecca Black "Friday" video, but this 14-year-old from Anaheim Hills is not resting there. "At first, I was getting attention for my dancing in the video," explained Benni Cinkle. "I don't have any formal dance training, and I guess people picked up on that," she added in her signature quick-wit.

But since the "Friday" video debuted in mid-March of this year, Cinkle has captured the attention of millions around the world.  And she has decided to use her time in the spotlight for good. To date, she orchestrated a flash mob to raise money for Japan, released an e-book to help kids deal with cyber-bullying (free online at www.thatgirlinpink.com), and responded to requests for television, Internet, and print interviews. On May 21, 2011, Cinkle will be at it again, walking with Great Strides, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's largest and most successful national fundraising event.

And she won't be walking alone. Each year, tens of thousands of people come together to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. In 2010, nearly $35.5 million was raised to support vital Cystic Fibrosis programs. According to the Foundation's website, money raised is used efficiently and effectively, as 91 cents of every dollar is made available for investment in vital Cystic Fibrosis programs to support research, care and education.

When she first heard of the fundraiser, Cinkle initially set for herself a massive challenge: to raise $5,000 on the 5k walk to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in its quest to find a cure. She knew, however, that if she was to reach her goal, she'd have to be creative.  So she took her appeal to Facebook. "People were commenting on my wall that they wished that they were here in California so that they could walk with me," she explained. "That's what sparked the idea for coordinating virtual team members."

On Saturday, May 21, as Cinkle and her local team of approximately 40 participants walk in Huntington Beach, groups of eager supporters totaling around 250 from around the world will complete their own 5k walk in their respective time zones. "That Girl in Pink Ambassadors" — team leaders who volunteered to coordinate the virtual walks — will videotape their experiences as they make a 5k circle for Cystic Fibrosis in New York City, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia, Vancouver, Ontario, London, The Philippines, Brazil, Peru, and Melbourne and Sydney. All virtual walkers have received a team bracelet to commemorate their participation. Inspired by the response from her virtual walking teams, Cinkle doubled her fundraising goal to $10,000. Cinkle will send a signed autograph to anyone who donates on her Great Strides home page (http://www.cff.org/great_strides/BenniCinkle) which will accept donations for one year. And because Cinkle's team has already surpassed their fundraising goal of $5000, she will perform her awkward dance from the Friday video at the finish line and post it on YouTube — going back to the medium where it all began for Cinkle just three months ago. "I'm really looking forward to being a part of such an important fundraiser," Cinkle noted. "The fact that people from all over the world are also walking with me — that's just amazing." Cinkle also persuaded other teens from the "Friday" video to join her on the walk in Huntington Beach. The group will sign t-shirts and take photos after the walk.

"We don't often get kids like Benni coming to us and asking to take such a leadership type of position," noted Michael Shumard, Executive Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Orange County chapter, adding, "It's humbling, actually."

For complete information on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, please visit the Foundation's website at http://www.cff.org/

Benni Cinkle media:

Website: http://thatgirlinpink.com

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/imthatgirlinpink

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/bennetcinkle

Twitter:  @benni_cinkle

Tumblr: http://girlinpinkdancing.tumblr.com/

Quick facts about "That Girl in Pink" Internet sensation Benni Cinkle:

Over 97,000 "Likes" on her Facebook page (80,000 from previous page+ 17,000 from current)
Over 8,000 Facebook friend requests.
A fan-suggested Tumblr account that attracted more than 40,000 followers within 48 hours.
Over 517,000 views on her YouTube FAQ, recorded at the request of fans who wanted to know more about her, making Benni's the 25th most subscribed channel on YouTube.

SOURCE Benni Cinkle's family