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'Jeopardy!' champ James Holzhauer honors Alex Trebek with pancreatic cancer donation  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

"Jeopardy!" champion James Holzhauer made a donation to a pancreatic cancer research walk in his hometown in honor of Alex Trebek. 

"Jeopardy!" host Trebek announced in March he's battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In May, the longtime host of the popular TV game show said he's in "near remission." 

Holzhauer donated $1,109.14, "For Alex Trebek and all the other survivors," to the Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk campaign page of Ann Zediker, a native of Naperville, Illinois, where Holzhauer used to live. 

The amount is a reference to Holzhauer's daughter's birthday: Nov. 9, 2014. 

Zediker told USA TODAY she reached out to Holzhauer via email to congratulate him on his success and to see if he'd be interested in joining the walk, which takes place July 14. She said Holzhauer declined but sent a donation instead. 

"My gut told me to reach out to James and invite him to a walk we’re having," she said. 

Zediker said she didn't expect Holzhauer to reply. 

"Many people told me it was a horrible to idea," she said. "My answer was I have absolutely nothing to lose. 

She added, "I’ve always felt that you really need to take the chances that are given to you and make the most of the opportunities that are given to you."

Zediker's father, Phil Pagano, died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer. She organized the walk after his death and the event is in its ninth year. 

The walk raises funds for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. The nonprofit dedicates 100% of donations to pancreatic cancer research, which is what drew Zediker to the foundation. 

She said so far, she's raised raised more than $550,000 with the annual walk. 

Holzhauer rose to fame during his 33-day run on the popular quiz show. He won $2,464,216, including $2,000 for his second-place finish to Emma Boettcher, who unseated him. He fell $56,484 short of the all-time record set by Ken Jennings. 

Zediker, a mother of three teenage children, said Holzhauer has become a local inspiration. 

"There was this big buzz going on as James had the huge winning streak going," she said. "Everyone was buzzing of energy and excitement."

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