Over the summer, Avi Gupta took home $100,000 after winning a teen “Jeopardy!” tournament. Now, he’s donating some of his winnings in honor of the show’s host, Alex Trebek.
The 18-year-old recently announced that he donated more than $10,000 to pancreatic cancer studies at the Knight Cancer Institute in Oregon. The donation comes after Trebek called for support surrounding Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month with a public service announcement last week.
“I was inspired to give by Alex Tebek, the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ and someone I’ve looked up to my whole life,” Gupta, a Columbia University freshman, said in a Twitter video. “Our goal with this campaign is to support research into pancreatic cancer awareness and early detection.”
Through the #InspiredBy campaign, Gupta donated $10,314 to the institute — a reference to the mathematic constant, Pi.
“Everyone knows someone or has been affected by cancer in some way,” Gupta told CBS affiliate WBNS. “I believe scientists are winning the fight against cancer, we just need to help them to do more.”
Dr. Brian Druker, director of the institute, and his wife decided to match Gupta’s donation — making it a true “Daily Double,” WBNS reports.
“What a remarkable young man and what a great gesture,” said Druker. “We hope it inspires lots and lots more people.”
Trebek, 79, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March, and has been public about his struggles throughout his treatment.
In September, Trebek returned to the “Jeopardy!” stage to kick off season 36 of the iconic game show after undergoing chemotherapy. But the following week, the host revealed he was returning to chemotherapy treatment after his “numbers went sky high.”
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate because a lack of knowledge means people are often diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition. Every day, more than 1,200 people worldwide will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and an estimated 1,180 die from the disease.
The cause of most pancreatic cancer cases is unknown, but there is evidence that smoking, being overweight, a family history of pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis could increase risk of developing the disease. Since there are currently no early screening tests for the disease, it is imperative that anyone experiencing persistent symptoms like pain in the upper abdomen, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, new onset of diabetes, or jaundice take a proactive approach and see a health care provider.
Trebek suggested in a recent interview that his tenure with “Jeopardy!” may be nearing an end as his battle with cancer continues. “I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish,” he told CTV.