A Jeopardy! champion with a big heart has donated a portion of his winnings to cancer research to honor his role model, Alex Trebek.
Eighteen-year-old Avi Gupta, who won the $100,000 grand prize during the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament in June, wrote a check Monday for $10,314 to the Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute. “I hope it makes a difference,” Gupta said. “Everyone knows someone or has been affected by cancer in some way. I believe scientists are winning the fight against cancer; we just need to help them to do more.” Trebek, who announced his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March, said recently that he will continue to host Jeopardy! until “his skills have started to diminish.” “I talk to the producers about this all the time. I say, ‘Look, I’m slurring my words. My tongue doesn’t work as well as it used to.’ The chemo has caused sores inside my mouth. It makes it difficult for me to speak and enunciate properly,” he told CTV.
Dr. Brian Druker, who is the director of the Knight Cancer Institute, said he and his wife were so moved by Gupta’s donation that they decided to match it. “What a remarkable young man and what a great gesture,” he said. “We hope it inspires lots and lots more people.” In June, Jeopardy! champion and professional gambler James Holzhauer donated $1,109.14 of his winnings to the Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk to honor the popular gameshow host.
The young man said he did it “for Alex Trebek and all the other survivors.” He has also donated large portions of the money to several causes including a Las Vegas library’s literacy program.
On Monday, Gupta said he wants the younger generation to follow his lead and give generously to their communities. “I really hope that others—young people, especially—will join me in supporting this cause,” he commented. “We are the social media generation.”