On March 6, the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account posted a video of host Alex Trebek sharing his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which has a 3 percent five-year survival rate according to the American Cancer Society.
Ironically, I discovered the news while at a local trivia night event with my friends. Trebek's announcement was incorporated into its own question as the people who ran the game paid him homage, saying Trebek was a true trivia inspiration. "Jeopardy!" and Trebek have long been icons of American television, and the spirit of the show's intellectual competition comes alive not only when people are watching on TV or participating as contestants, but in every trivia night, academic team competition, and "SNL" spoof.
What strikes me most about the video, and what I think hits all of us, is the optimistic and poised manner in which Trebek delivers the news.
"I'm gonna fight this," he says. "And I'm gonna keep working. 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. Truth told, I have to — because under the terms of my contract, I have to host 'Jeopardy!' for three more years!"
At the end of the video, he asks us to "keep the faith." And that's what we're going to do.
I've seen a lot of Tweets offering love, support, and encouragement. Trebek's announcement provided us a stark yet obvious and simple reminder: Cancer sucks. We are reminded that anyone can be affected by its grasp—even celebrities. And I think almost everyone knows someone personally who has battled some type of cancer. Maybe that person is you. So our hearts and prayers go out to Alex Trebek, not only because we are moved by his words, and not only because he is a beloved television icon, but because we are united by empathy to uplift people battling a disease that too many have had to face.
And it's certainly not going to take Alex Trebek if we can help it.
So, Alex Trebek, we will keep the faith. For you and for everyone impacted by cancer. We are supporting you in this fight, and we hope to see you on "Jeopardy!" for the next three years.