Jeopardy Host Responds After Pomfret Students Send 1,000 Paper Cranes

The paper cranes are meant to be a symbol of healing power

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The famed host of Jeopardy, Alex Trebek, continues his fight against pancreatic cancer. A Connecticut grade school wanted to make sure he knew that he was not alone.

“He brings joy to the learning aspect of almost everything,” said Emma Costa, a seventh-grade student at Pomfret Community School.

Costa has been watching Jeopardy since she was 8 years old. Her love for the show spread, even rubbing off on her friends at school like Abby Houle.

“Whenever my cousin and I have sleepovers we binge-watch it on Netflix,” said Houle. “All through the night we would not fall asleep.”

When the students learned that Trebek was facing a fight against stage four pancreatic cancer, they were crushed.

“When I heard how many people actually make it out of it I was sad,” said Costa. “I don’t want to know a Jeopardy without him. Though I know eventually one day it will happen, he will have to retire. It just won’t be the same.”

Costa’s guidance counselor at school, Beth Gilloran, said Costa went to her office very upset.

“Her family members are avid watchers,” said Gilloran. “I said well- what do you need? What can we do?”

Costa said she was reminded of a book she read in fourth grade about paper cranes and the healing power behind them.

“If you fold 1,000 paper cranes your wish will come true,” said Costa. “So my wish was that he will get better.”

Costa asked her friends if they would be interested. After months of work, a group of five students and Gilloran folded 1,000 little birds. All for Trebek.

They shipped them off in June, but sent them to the wrong address. They mailed them again later in the summer, not ever expecting a response back from Trebek, just hoping he would see them.

Late December they got a response.

Jeopardy posted an article on their website writing, in part, “The symbolic gesture has become one of hope and healing during challenging times. Alex and the entire Jeopardy! Family find the same inspiration in the multiple strings of cranes now proudly flying in their new home on Stage 10.”

The crew took a picture of Trebek standing next to the cranes, handmade in Pomfret. The students say they hope the cranes serve as a constant reminder to Trebek that they are rooting for him.

“He has a lot of people who care for him and just want him to feel better,” said Brady DelFarno, one of the students involved.

Trebek has not yet announced when his final show will be, but he said will need 30 seconds at the end of the show for a goodbye message.

“I try not to think about what happens then or if that will happen soon or any of that, but I know his impact will live in me and others that he was something really special and different,” said Costa.

Contact Us