Alex Trebek is drawing hope from pancreatic cancer survivors as he continues to battle the disease.
On Saturday, the longtime Jeopardy! host was the keynote speaker at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network walk at the Los Angeles Zoo, where he helped raise money to fund pancreatic cancer research and told attendees that despite the grave disease, “there is hope.”
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Like most of you, I drew a great deal of inspiration from Angie’s comments a little while ago — a 22-year cancer survivor,” Trebek, 78, said in footage obtained by TMZ about a fellow speaker at the event, who is 22 years cancer-free.
He then revealed to attendees that he is 62 days into his own cancer journey, but he hopes to make it to 22 years, just like Angie.
“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,” Trebek said. “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.”
Alex Trebek Posts Sweet Message Thanking Fans for Support After Cancer Diagnosis: “I’m a Lucky Guy”
Trebek then invited all cancer survivors to the stage “to demonstrate to the world through the media covering this event that there is hope — that we can beat it.”
He continued: “I’m also welcoming them to stand here in front of the purple Stride sign to show that our hearts are in this in terms of finding a way to beat cancer.”
The veteran game show host also made reference to famed Jeopardy! contestant James Holzhauer, who snagged his 21st win on Thursday’s show and brought his earnings to $1,608,627.
“If I can get in a plug for my show, all of you guys here have done what Jeopardy! James [Holzhauer] has done on our television show and that is, in terms of fundraising, you have exceeded expectations,” he said.
Trebek initially revealed the news of his cancer diagnosis in a video message on March 6.
“Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you. And it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fan base,” he began. “I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So, therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information.”
The TV host continued, “Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”
Trebek, who has now hosted Jeopardy! for 35 years, vowed to courageously “fight” the disease. He also asked show fans to lift up prayers on his behalf.
“And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low-survival-rate statistics for this disease,” he said.
Last week, Trebek stopped by Good Morning America to chat with Robin Roberts, who is a breast-cancer survivor, about the support and love he has received.
“People all over America have been sharing their good thoughts, their advice, their prayers. And I feel it is making a difference in my well-being,” said Trebek in his first live interview since revealing the news of his cancer diagnosis.
Trebek went on to express his gratitude over being “considered an inspiration to other people,” and added that he felt the same sentiment for individuals who have battled the disease before him.
“I’ve had so many contacts from people who have survived cancer for 10 years, 12 years, 14 years,” he said. “I am now a 30-day survivor…I’m going to catch up to those other people.”
“But they have been an inspiration to me, and that’s really what it’s all about,” Trebek added. “It’s drawing attention to this particular type of devastating cancer, making people aware of it, telling them that they should take certain precautions beforehand to find out because we never discover pancreatic cancer until it’s too late, unfortunately.”
As for his own situation, Trebek candidly told Roberts, 58, that his oncologist said he is “doing well” despite not always feeling well.
“I’ve had kidney stones, I’ve had ruptured discs, so I’m used to dealing with pain, but what I’m not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness, and it brings tears to my eyes,” he admitted.
“I’ve discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentlemen, that I’m a bit of a wuss,” Trebek joked. “But I’m fighting through it. My platelets, my blood counts are steady, my weight is steady … the cancer indicators – those are coming down. I’ve got another chemo next week and then we’ll do a review to find out where things stand.”
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