James Holzhauer, the Jeopardy! champion who dominated an incredible 32 games and won $2,462,216, donated to a Naperville, Ill. pancreatic cancer walk in Alex Trebek's name. Trebek, who broke the news of his illness in March while filming the same season Holzhauer appeared in, is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
During what would be Holzhauer's final episode, Trebek thanked Holzhauer's daughter for a handmade card. "I want to express my thanks to your beautiful little daughter, Natasha, for having made this get well card for me," Trebek said. "That was very sweet of her."
Meanwhile, Ann Zediker had become a fan of Holzhauer — both are from Naperville — and started to follow him on social media. However, it wasn't until his final game that Zediker was inspired to reach out, according to the Chicago Tribune.
After hearing about the get well card, Zediker emailed Holzhauer and asked him if he would be interested in participating in the 2019 Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Reach Walk on July 14.
"My gut told me it was the right thing to do," said Zediker, whose father lost his life to pancreatic cancer in 2010, just five months after being diagnosed. "It couldn't hurt."
Holzhauer, who isn't going to be in Naperville for the walk, donated $1,109.14, representing the birthday of his daughter, Natasha, who made Trebek the card. On the donation website, he wrote, "For Alex Trebek and all the other survivors."
In May, Trebek revealed that he was responding well to treatment and is in "near remission" — something that, in the past, has often been unheard of when it came to pancreatic cancer.
"Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst cancers out there. Most people aren't diagnosed until the latter stages," Zediker explained.
She believes that research — made possible by foundations such as the Lustgarten Foundation, which operates the walk and is the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research — is helping people diagnosed with the cancer have a better chance at living longer.
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