"Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek opened up today's show by eulogizing a former contestant who passed away from the same disease that the long-time host is suffering from. Alex described that the current contestants are wearing purple ribbons on their shirts which is one of the symbols in the fight against pancreatic cancer. The ribbons are in tribute of Larry Martin who passed away shortly after winning the Teachers Tournament.
One of the contestants that wore the ribbon appeared in Alex's short video tribute to Martin and said, "We want to show our support for everybody waging a fight pancreatic cancer, including Alex."
The show also announced that a donation will be made in Martin's name to the Fred Rogers Center.
Trebek Says He's Not Afraid Of Dying
Last month, Trebek openly discussed his struggle with the disease to CTV News' Lisa LaFlamme. He said that he's "not afraid of dying."“I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life … if it happens, why should I be afraid that?” Trebek told LaFlamme.
The host has been in good spirits and even made some jokes during his interview. “One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral, as a part of a eulogy, is ‘He was taken from us too soon,'" Trebek said.
Alex also noted that he felt his skills are "diminishing." “I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving," Trebek said. “But there will come a point when they (producers) will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s ok.' I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish.”Trebek said that ulcers in his mouth have started to affect his speech.
Dr. Oz Gives Health Update On Alex
Dr. Mehmet Oz gave an update about the health and spirit of the "Jeopardy!" host in an interview with "Fox & Friends" last week."The Dr. Oz" show host visited with Trebek a few weeks ago and said he has been keeping his head up throughout this tough time. "He's an incredible fighter and a great American, who's Canadian. ... He's a strong man and I think he's doing much better than I would do," Dr. Oz said.
Dr. Oz went on to praise Alex for bringing so much awareness to the disease and encouraging others to learn the "signs and symptoms." The doctor was ecstatic that Trebek did a PSA to spread the word about what to look for. "The bigger issue here is that folks, when they do get diagnosed, often don’t get aggressively treated," he said."The only chance physicians can get ahead on this is by you telling us that you got these signs," Oz continued, "I'm hopeful we will find cures for some forms of pancreatic cancer."
His New Mission
At the end of October, Trebek announced that he is partnering up with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition (WPCC). He put out a PSA that said, "Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits. Now in order to help patients fight and survive this disease more attention and awareness are needed." Trebek than said that he wished he took action earlier. "I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer."