Alex Trebek's Family Opens Up About Their 'Bittersweet' Traditions to Honor His Memory

The former Jeopardy! host's family came together to raise funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on what would've been his 32nd wedding anniversary to wife Jean

Alex Trebek's family is making sure his legacy carries on.

The late Jeopardy! host's wife, Jean, and children Emily, Nicky and Matthew came together last week — on what would've been his 32nd wedding anniversary — to help the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network raise money to combat the disease that took his life.

"It's a little bittersweet because this was the disease that took Alex's human life," Jean told PEOPLE at PanCAN's Purple Stride Walk & Run at the Los Angeles Zoo. "But, I also know what it pulled from him. His courage, his strength and that was what Alex, I know, wants to be remembered for."

Jean Trebek and Nicky Trebek at PanCAN PurpleStride LA 2022
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)

Trebek first revealed his stage IV diagnosis back in March 2019. In the video to his fans, he explained his prognosis wasn't good, but he was committed to hosting the show that he called home for 37 seasons. Trebek eventually died on November 8, 2020, at the age of 80.

But the family gave their word to the father of three that they'd continue fighting for others in his honor.

"I promised that I would be involved with PanCAN and try to make a difference and impact with them," said Nicky, who has raised nearly $40,000 for the charity to date. "I plan to do this every year. I plan to do a Team Nicky every year."

Trebek Family (L-R, Emily Trebek, Nicky Trebek, Jean Trebek, Matthew Trebek)
Emily Trebek, Nicky Trebek, Jean Trebek and Matthew Trebek support PanCAN at the PurpleStride walk in Los Angeles. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)

Trebek's eldest daughter also stays connected to the game show that helped make her father a household name.

"One of the other things I try to do to keep his legacy alive is I worked on Jeopardy!, so I'm close with the Jeopardy! family and the Sony family," Nicky told PEOPLE.

She continued, "Also, Hope of the Valley was another thing that was very close to dad's heart and still close to Jean's heart. The Trebek Center's going to be opening with 107 beds for homeless people all over the San Fernando Valley. That was something that he really, really wanted to see come to fruition. So I have some friends that want to work at the Trebek Center. I'm trying to get everybody jobs there. That's how I'm sort of trying to continue his legacy."

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Nicky Trebek on stage at PurpleStride LA 2022
Nicky Trebek speaks on stage before PanCAN's PurpleStride walk in Los Angeles. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)

The Trebeks are touched by the overwhelming support from fans, which remind them how beloved their husband and father was.

"I would just say thank you," Jean said. "We love all of you and I wish there was a way we could let everyone know how much we really appreciate all the love and support that the family's receive and we send it right back to you."

PanCAN also couldn't be more thankful to have the family's support as they help others who are diagnosed with the deadly disease using the funds raised by people like Nicky.

"We have one amazing patient services program, so if someone is diagnosed, they should call PanCAN, be connected with one of our trained case managers and we can provide them with information and resources so they can make informed decisions," PanCAN President & CEO Julie Fleshman told PEOPLE.

Supporters can visit to make a general donation or one in support of PurpleStride.

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