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Published: Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 7:30 AM
By: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A "Jeopardy!" phenom who rose to fame during his 32-game winning streak has donated to a pancreatic cancer walk in honor of host Alex Trebek, who was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.
According to the Chicago Tribune, James Holzhauer, a professional gambler from Las Vegas, donated $1,109.14 to the Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk in Illinois after a fan, Naperville resident Ann Zediker, sent him an email asking him to participate in the event.
"My gut told me it was the right thing to do," said Zediker, who was moved when Trebek thanked Holzhauer's daughter for a get-well card during the contestant's last episode.
Holzhauer, who is originally from Naperville, said he couldn't go to the walk but pledged the money instead.
On the donation website, Holzhauer wrote that his contribution was "for Alex Trebek and all the other survivors." The amount is a nod to his daughter's birthday, the Tribune reported.
"I knew that Alex's story had an impact on him, just like it has an impact on anyone who's working with a family member who's going through pancreatic cancer," Zediker, whose father died from the disease, told CNN.
Holzhauer won more than $2.4 million on "Jeopardy!" before falling to University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher in an episode that aired June 3.
Although he set a new record for single-day earnings – $131,127 – earlier this year, his streak lasted less than half as long as Ken Jennings' 74-win run in 2004, The Associated Press reported. Holzhauer's total winnings also fell short of Jennings' $2.52 million haul.
Trebek announced late last month that his cancer is in "near remission," CNN reported.