LOS ANGELES, May 4, 2019 / — Alex Trebek showed his support while sharing his resolve to fight pancreatic cancer with more than 2,300 patients, caregivers and advocates on Saturday at PurpleStride Los Angeles, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. The walk was hosted by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) Los Angeles Affiliate and presented by the Kathryn Naficy Pancreatic Foundation. PanCAN is the leading pancreatic cancer patient advocacy organization dedicating to fighting the world’s toughest cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States with a five-year survival rate of just 9 percent. Funds raised through the event support PanCAN’s critical pancreatic cancer research as well as its services and resources for patients and caregivers.
Trebek, who announced his stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis in early March, inspired the crowd of survivors, caregivers and advocates when he took the stage during the event’s opening ceremonies. “What we have heard from today’s speakers is that there is always hope. I have now been a cancer survivor for sixty days and my hope is that I get to match their accomplishments.”
Trebek was joined by a contingency of close to 200 family, friends and staff from his TV game show “Jeopardy!” as well as “Wheel of Fortune.” Editorial Supervisor Michele Loud of “Jeopardy!”, along with Supervising Producer Rocky Schmidt and Executive Producer Harry Friedman, created “Team Alex” for PurpleStride Los Angeles to raise money for PanCAN and to support their friend Trebek. “Team Alex” quickly became the No. 1 friends & family fundraising team for PurpleStride Los Angeles. To date, “Team Alex” has raised nearly $60,000.
“Alex is family to us,” Friedman said. “Our goal was to raise $35,000 to symbolize the 35 years that Alex has been the greatest host of the greatest quiz show on television. And to quote him again, ‘We will get it done!’ Please help us continue to raise money to fight this disease.”
Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN, praised Trebek’s positive attitude and his decision to be on hand to personally address the crowd. “Pancreatic cancer does not discriminate. Having Alex here today gives survivors so much strength and positivity and will undoubtedly greatly amplify our urgent call to raise money for critical research on early detection and for better treatment options.”
Since 2003, PanCAN has invested more than $56 million in research, led the effort to pass the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, created a grassroots army with 60 affiliates across the country, and is on track to launch its own clinical trial that will more quickly and more efficiently improve treatment options for patients.
“We have made tremendous progress since my own father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 20 years ago,” Fleshman added. “There is hope for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.”
PurpleStride Los Angeles participants enjoyed the 2.2-mile walk throughout the Los Angeles Zoo. CBS2 This Morning co-anchor Suzanne Marques and Los Angeles Kings Radio Commentator Daryl Evans served as co-emcees for the event.
PurpleStride Los Angeles was supported by national presenting sponsor Celgene, presenting sponsor Kathryn Naficy Pancreatic Foundation, national gold sponsors AbbVie and Ipsen, gold sponsors Cedars-Sinai, Halozyme, Harry’s Berries and Pom & Associates, gold media sponsor CBS2/KCAL9, and silver sponsors Crescent Capital Group and Cancer Care Institute.
To make a donation, visit pancan.org/teamalex.