The longtime host announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March

By Eric Todisco
November 06, 2019 03:40 PM

Jeopardy! champ Avi Gupta is putting some of his winnings towards a meaningful and important cause.

The 18-year-old Columbia University freshman, who took home $100,000 on the show this summer, announced in a video on Twitter last week that he was donating $10,000 towards the Night Cancer Institute in honor of longtime host Alex Trebek‘s battle with cancer.

“I was inspired to give by Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy! and someone who I have looked up to my whole life,” he said. “It was a dream come true earlier this year to finally join him on the Jeopardy! stage and the Jeopardy! teen tournament.”

“I am honored to be able to make this donation to the Knight Cancer Institute to support him and the millions of other people suffering from pancreatic cancer across the world,” Gupta continued. “Our goal with this campaign is to support research into pancreatic cancer awareness and early detection.”

In honor of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, Gupta also called on others to join him in contributing towards the cause.

Credit: Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Trebek, 79, revealed the news of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis to fans in a video message in March. After undergoing months of treatment, the TV host told fans in August that he had finished his treatment and was doing better.

But one month later, Trebek announced on Good Morning America that he was once again undergoing chemotherapy.

According to the Emmy winner, soon after filming his message that he had completed his treatment, he lost a large amount of weight — causing his doctors to recommend another round of the drug treatment.

“I was doing so well and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic,” Trebek recalled. “They said, ‘Good, we’re going to stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy,’ and I lost about 12 lbs. in a week and my numbers went sky-high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed.”

He told GMA that “cancer is mysterious in more ways than one,” and that battling it has taken a toll on his body.

“It has different effects on you,” Trebek said. “For some reason, and I don’t understand why, occasionally it will cause excruciating pain in my lower back. Other times it’s fatigue, other times it’s nausea. It varies.”

“My hair started to grow back, but now I have to undergo chemo again, so what little hair I have grown is going to disappear again,” he added. “In terms of getting my strength back, that hasn’t happened, unfortunately.”

Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty

There have also been emotional downfalls, too, Trebek said, including the occasional “surge of sadness and depression.”

“It doesn’t last very long but it just takes over my whole being for a short period of time,” Trebek explained. “I understand it more now so I can deal with it a lot better now than I did before.”