An Open Letter to Alex Trebek from the Daughter of a Pancreatic Cancer Survivor
Some of the best news of 2019 arrived today when I heard that Alex Trebek is succeeding in his fight against pancreatic cancer!
The five year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 9% and hearing his positive story today gives hope to all of us connected to the disease. Hope that the number could be going up. Hope that there might be an easy cure someday or at the very least a better way to detect this disease before it hits as hard as is usually does.
My mom is a twelve year pancreatic cancer survivor which is SO RARE and I think sometimes that rarity freaks us all out. That she’s such an anomaly, that something could be hiding or that we play a different part in the pancreatic cancer family because we have a survivor, but now Alex seems to be an anomaly too.
I don’t have his phone number so I can’t text Alex to talk about this so I’ll just pretend he’s reading this:
Hi! I’m Michelle and even though I’ve auditioned for Jeopardy like ten times and never passed the final test I’m still one of your biggest fans. But this letter isn’t about me, it’s about my mom.
My mom is a twelve year pancreatic cancer survivor. I don’t even need to tell you how rare and incredible that is, as I’m sure you’ve memorized the facts behind this awful disease.
She’s been through it all from the Whipple procedure in 2006 to rounds of chemotherapy, to having to retrain her body on how to deal with nutrient deficiencies. After all that, I feel like she’s never really felt like she could celebrate her survivor-y until your story came out this week.
Yes every year we toast to her and buy her purple gear to commemorate her fight, but it’s hard to celebrate a success like that when you know so many other people don’t get the chance.
Every time I hear an update about your story, I want to cry because I’m so happy to hear the treatment you're undergoing is working. So happy to watch you spread hope to the pancreatic cancer community and to see that the numerous walks and runs and fundraisers are working to raise money to find treatments that are in fact, working!
Your successes make me feel like for the first time in twelve years my mom can feel really good about sharing her success. That other survivors who feel so rare feel connected to you and know that they're not alone in being positive outcomes from this awful diagnosis.
Which in turn allows me to feel like I can share more and keep spreading awareness about fundraisers and the fight to wage hope across the country for those affected by pancreatic cancer.
So thank you for being so upfront and honest with all of us who are sending you well wishes from the sidelines.
Reason why I’m so happy today? ‘What is Alex Trebek.’ 💜