Team Alex is supporting Alex Trebek at PurpleStride Los Angeles on May 4

As Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) supporters in Southern California gear up for PurpleStride Los Angeles on May 4, a new team has surged to the No. 1 spot for fundraising: Team Alex.

“We are walking for Alex [Trebek],” the Team Alex website begins. “As he said, ‘Keep the faith and we will win!’”

Today on “Good Morning America,” Trebek gave his first public interview since his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March of this year. He referenced attending a “pancreatic cancer walkathon” this Saturday.

“We are thrilled that Alex hopes to come to PurpleStride Los Angeles this weekend,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN. “He has already done a tremendous service to the entire pancreatic cancer community by openly sharing his diagnosis and bringing attention to the disease.”

In the interview, Trebek said, “It’s great to be considered an inspiration to other people. People all over America have been sharing their good thoughts, their advice, their prayers – and I feel it is making a difference in my wellbeing.”

Those closest to Trebek professionally and personally – staff from “Jeopardy!” and other network employees, family and friends, including Vanna White – have rallied around him by joining or donating to Team Alex.

“There’s been a groundswell of support for this team and for him,” Fleshman said. “It’s clear his television persona mirrors his real-life kindness, compassion and remarkable sense of humor.”

Trebek mentioned hearing from long-term cancer survivors – those who’ve survived cancer 10, 12, 14 years. He added with a chuckle, “I am now a 30-day cancer survivor. I’m going to catch up to those other people!”

As for how he’s living with pancreatic cancer and coping with chemotherapy treatments, Trebek said, “My oncologist tells me I’m doing well, even though I don’t always feel it.”

He went on to note that he’s dealt with pain in his life before, but he’s unaccustomed to these “surges that come on suddenly, of deep, deep sadness.”

Seeing healthcare professionals who focus on symptom management and supportive (palliative) care improves outcomes and is critical for quality of life. PanCAN strongly recommends that symptom management and supportive (palliative) care be provided early in patients’ diagnosis as well as during and after treatment.

“I am in awe of the courage Alex has shown by sharing his pancreatic cancer diagnosis so publicly,” Fleshman said. “And, it’s incredibly important to bring awareness to the many symptoms and side effects people with pancreatic cancer may experience – affecting them both physically and emotionally.”

She added, “Words cannot describe our gratitude to Alex for bringing so much awareness to pancreatic cancer – in addition to the amazing $47,000 and counting raised by Team Alex so far.

“Together with all our incredible supporters, we will improve outcomes for everyone faced with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.”

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