The Stand Up 2 Cancer Foundation announced the Alex Trebek fund today (Nov. 1) in an effort to honor pancreatic cancer awareness month.
The foundation partnered with the former Jeopardy! host’s widow, Jean Trebek, and the estate of Barbara Hanania, who was once a Hollywood camera operator, to kickstart the fund with $1 million. The current and future proceeds will help research scientists find new and better treatments for the disease.
“Alex knew that knowledge equaled power,” Jean said in a statement, per USA Today. “He was a man that really loved to know things and stayed very curious. Since Alex was all about the right answer, I think it’s very fitting that this fund is now established in his name. It’s a way for the community that loved him to put resources directly into the hands of scientists working tirelessly to fight a disease shrouded by many unknowns.”
The famed host died on Nov. 8, 2020, less than two years after he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is considered a “silent killer” as it has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers and has one of the poorest early detection screenings. As it stands, all stages included, pancreatic cancer only has a 12% five-year survival rate.
Stand Up 2 Cancer Matching $250K in Alex Trebek Fund Donations
Stand Up 2 Cancer (SU2C) will run a $250,000 Alex Trebek fund match challenge throughout November. The match is made possible by SU2C co-founder and Today Show host Katie Couric. She made a massive donation in her sister Emily’s name. Emily died from pancreatic cancer in 2001.
While speaking on Today with Jean Trebek, Couric, who lost her first husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998, remembered the day she learned Alex Trebek died. She called Jean to offer support, and that conversation led to today’s announcement.
“We started talking about Alex’s legacy and how we could honor him. And that’s when the idea of this fund came about,” she said. “Science takes money, and that’s why we’re establishing this.”
Couric also detailed the most promising areas of research and diagnosis that the Alex Trebek Fund will help, including advanced blood tests and liquid biopsies.
“This was something that Alex actually would champion,” said Jean. “He loved a good challenge; he was very curious. He loved to know the answers both at Jeopardy! and at home. I think this really coincides with his character, his spirit of helping others and finding the right answers.”
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