Alex Trebek’s public battle with pancreatic cancer has been a painful and emotional experience to witness. The beloved host, who has done 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy over the last 35 years, first shared his diagnosis in March of last year. In October, he shared that he might not be able to continue hosting the game show much longer due to sores caused by the chemotherapy he was undergoing. In response to news that Trebek was re-entering treatment, one contestant sacrificed his earnings on Monday night’s episode. Instead of writing the correct answer, contestant Dhruv Gaur wrote out “We love you, Alex Trebek.”
The move caused Trebek to choke up a little bit, while he informed Gaur that he lost $1,995 for his incorrect answer. “Alex had just shared with us that he was reentering treatment for pancreatic cancer. We were all hurting for him so badly,” Dhruv wrote on Twitter. “I’m just very grateful I got the opportunity to say what I know everyone was thinking. Sending all the love.”
It was a touching moment, but it wouldn’t be the only sweet thing a Jeopardy contestant would do for Trebek this week.
On Thursday and Friday, several champion contestants will be wearing special purple ribbons during the show’s Tournament of Champions to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, and to honor both Trebek and Jeopardy champion Larry Martin, who passed away due to the illness last year.
The champions, including five-time Jeopardy winner Steven Grade and record-setting champion James Holzer, have also organized a way for viewers to give back while watching the show: During Thursday and Friday’s episodes, viewers are encouraged to donate $1 for every correct answer they get to Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research.
The details about the fundraising effort were posted to Grade’s Twitter account. “Play one night, play both nights, donate an amount that is right for you,” the post says. “Watchers and non-watchers alike, every little bit helps, and every little bit helps honor Alex, Larry, and all of those who are fighting pancreatic cancer.”
This is not the first time Jeopardy has been connected to raising awareness around pancreatic cancer. After his diagnosis, Trebek appeared in a video campaign where he shared his own experiences. And in an interview with CTV, Trebek shared that his battle with cancer has meant he’s become a source of inspiration for strength for other people who have the disease.
"I don't know if I'm strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it's tough on me," Trebek said at the time. "The thought of pancreatic cancer does not frighten me. I'm 79 years old. So, hey, I've lived a good life, a full life, and I'm nearing the end of that life. I know that."