A lot of what we do in life is just programmed into our minds. There are things that we do each day that we just don’t put a whole lot of thought into.
Growing up, one of those things was watching Jeopardy! every night.
Like most kids, I found the show to be really boring and uneventful. Even though I couldn’t care less about the actual show, I was drawn in by the witty and knowledgeable host.
That host was, of course, Alex Trebek.
Trebek’s knowledge of the show’s material was accompanied by his quick wit and welcoming demeanor, making him feel like more of a friend than a television show host.
Even when I got older and started enjoying the actual game of Jeopardy!, my main reason for tuning in continued to be Trebek.
Wanting to work in television, I was drawn in by his smooth delivery and his stage presence.
At family parties, we would play games together in our living room. I always served as the emcee and tried to duplicate the way Trebek carried himself under the bright lights.
I remember sitting in class when I heard that Trebek had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
As a cancer survivor, watching the host’s battle almost brought me to tears. It is easy to let the weight of the disease weigh you down, but Trebek fought on and brought attention to early screening and symptoms that some might overlook.
Later in the year, a very close family member of mine was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a short time period to live.
Trebek’s advocacy for pancreatic cancer awareness became personal due to this, and I gained even more respect for his mission to live his life to the fullest despite having the disease.
He might have been a game show host to some, but Alex Trebek shouldn’t be remembered solely for his most famous occupation. Instead, he should be remembered as an advocate for a deadly disease that used the end of his life as a time to draw attention to a cause rather than live in fear of what would take him from us.
Jeopardy! crowned many champions, but the show's host was a true champion of life.
Rest in peace, Alex.