San Diegans remembered television icon, Alex Trebek, Sunday night. The “Jeopardy!” show announced Trebek, 80, passed away in his home surrounded by loved ones Sunday morning. Trebek left a lasting impact on millions of viewers, including those fighting against Pancreatic cancer.
“There’s just so many people whose lives he touched,” said Carmela Chan, a recent “Jeopardy!” contestant.
“I have always wanted to go on Jeopardy and I literally missed it by 24 hours,” said Stephanie Thompson, of Hillcrest. Thompson said she had her bags packed and was ready to go to Los Angeles for a “Jeopardy!” taping Monday morning when she received a call from show producers.
“She (producer) was in tears on the phone and she said, ‘I have to tell you the very sad news that Alex Trebek passed early this morning’,” Thompson explained. “And of course, I was devastated. I was so sad. I adored Alex for such a long time and the episodes showing right now on your channel were taped after COVID started, so they’re recent episodes.”
Chan was fortunate enough to be one of those recent contestants.
“It was an honor I got to meet him in person and share those few moments with him,” said Chan, who explained she had taped the shows at the end of August and they aired last week.
“My favorite moment is that moment he turned to us and said, ‘Gosh, I had fun,” Chan remembered. A life-long dream come to fruition. “I think I speak for everyone when I say, we’ve all had so much fun watching the show and having him in our lives.”
Anggie Becorest is a 24-year pancreatic cancer survivor. She shared a different stage with Trebek last year. “He brought a lot of awareness,” said Becorest. She and Trebek were speakers at the Los Angeles The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Purple Stride event.
“Here’s this icon who was diagnosed with the same thing I was diagnosed with and cancer doesn’t pick and choose its victims,” Becorest said. According to researchers, approximately 57,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year.
“Because of the vague symptoms like I had – pain emanating from the abdomen to mid-back, the nausea, extreme weight loss in a short period of time -- it’s things like that that makes this disease so deadly. When you’re feeling like that and you don’t know what it is, be quick to be your own health advocate and insist to see a specialist,” advised Becorest.
November is pancreatic cancer awareness month. Learn more about the fight against pancreatic cancer, here.