There have been two major stories in the world of Jeopardy! for the last year. One was the meteoric rise of gambler and champion James Holzhauer, the other was the saga of Alex Trebek’s battle against pancreatic cancer.
Although Holzhauer failed to topple Ken Jennings’ all-time winnings record, we are happy to report that Trebek’s story is on much more of an upswing.
Back when he first announced his diagnosis, Trebek stated, “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” then joked, “I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”
And in a recent video promoting the 36th season of Jeopardy!, Trebek seems cautiously optimistic:
These stories have been corroborated by producer Harry Friedman, who has worked with Trebek since 1997:
Alex is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is he’s got an iron will and an unequaled determination to beat this. He underwent several rounds of chemo and that brought his numbers down. They were around 1,000 at one point and now they’re down into the high teens.
According to multiple sources, this is an unlikely and encouraging outcome, given the statistics surrounding the disease. Records from the American Cancer Society indicate that approximately 56,770 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and nearly 80 percent will die from it.
Trebek recently participated in a Purple Stride walk with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. During the event, Alex discussed hopes that he would see his hundredth birthday:
As you all know, survivorship is measured starting from the date you are diagnosed with cancer. And on that scale, my gosh, I’m a 62-day survivor. Give me a break…But I’m working on it. And I promise you this: That if I become a 22-year survivor, you will all be welcomed at my 100th birthday.
Here’s hoping we’re all around to celebrate that joyous occasion with him.
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