Nonprofit sees uptick in pancreatic cancer awareness since Trebek diagnosis

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Dhruv Gaur, the Brown University student competing in the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, was eliminated in the semifinals Monday, but he had a special message for host Alex Trebek before leaving.

“We ♥ you, Alex,” Gaur’s final Jeopardy! answer read.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), the host of Purple Strides Rhode Island, said Gaur is just one of the millions of people showing love and support to Trebek as he brings more awareness to pancreatic cancer during his fight.

Community Relationship Manager for the Rhode Island chapter of PanCAN Richard Ponte said the organization’s website has seen some of its highest numbers ever since Trebek publically announced his diagnosis.

“On the day Alex Trebek announced his diagnosis, PanCAN received the most web traffic on a single day ever, almost eight times higher than an average day in that same month,” Ponte said.

PanCAN Rhode Island Media Chair Samantha Potter said there has been an uptick in pancreatic cancer awareness because of Trebek.

“More people are asking about pancreatic cancer, what it is, how it’s treated, how someone can be diagnosed with it,” she said. “People watch Jeopardy!, he’s in our home every night and he’s probably the most famous face of pancreatic cancer to date — I don’t know about you, but I grew up with him.”

Every May, PanCAN Rhode Island hosts PurpleStride, a walk attended by thousands to help fund research and raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.

Potter said this past May, the organization raised more than $350,000 – the most in its history.

“People call and they ask, ‘Well, Alex Trebek has this, is this something that can be happening to me? To my family?’ For so many people, they feel like cancer is such a bad word, they don’t talk about it,” Potter said. “I feel the more we speak about it, the better.”

Courtesy: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

According to PanCAN, 50,000 people across the country each year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“The symptoms are so vague you have to be your own advocate. As simple as nausea. If you think something is wrong, you need to talk to your doctor and really press for the test,” she added.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is next Thursday, a day that encourages people around the world to wear purple for pancreatic cancer awareness.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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