This Is Why All Three of the Greatest of All Time 'Jeopardy!' Champions Wore Purple Ribbons

The keen eyes of 'Jeopardy!' fans noticed that all three of the Greatest of All Time 'Jeopardy!' champions opted to wear purple ribbons. Here's why.

Jacqueline Gualtieri - Author

Mar. 8 2021, Updated 10:35 a.m. ET

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Jeopardy! fans know that Alex Trebek has been through quite a lot in the past year. The beloved host has managed to continue his duties despite his stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis. And throughout that time, contestants have been honoring him and his career with Jeopardy!, with the Greatest of All Time championship being no exception. Here's how all three contestants are using purple ribbons in support of the host.

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Jeopardy! fans noted that the Greatest of All Time champs are sporting purple ribbons.

When the Greatest of All Time championship aired on Jeopardy!, fans noticed that all three of the contenders, Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings, and Jame Holzhauer, were wearing purple ribbons on their lapels. Pure purple is the ribbon color for pancreatic cancer.

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The purple ribbon is a symbol of one woman's love for her mother. Rose Schneider's favorite color was purple and she passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Her daughter, Pamela Acosta Marquardt, founded the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan) to support people with pancreatic cancer, as she herself struggled to find support when her mother was suffering from the illness.

"After my mother died, I went online to find the 'organization for pancreatic cancer.' There’s a group for every disease, I had figured. I was shocked to find that one did not exist. There were no resources anywhere for the disease, only a 'pancreas cancer chat room' on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website," Pamela wrote.

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"One thing was abundantly clear to me: We needed to start a movement. And I was ready to take action. I remember one of the first things I wanted to do was to order ribbon pins so we could raise awareness, but what color?" She decided on purple, remembering it as a constant presence in her life growing up, the color that her mother loved most and felt most beautiful in.

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For the Greatest of All Time contenders, those purple ribbons symbolize Alex's battle. 

Alex has been fairly outspoken about his struggle against pancreatic cancer. And he's been an active part of what Pamela was referring to, the need to educate others on an illness that is very deadly, but not often talked about. In 2019, he took part in PurpleStride LA, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. He even gave an inspirational speech at the event. 

The 6 time Emmy winner has made it his mission to spread the word about the little discussed illness. In October, he partnered with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition to issue a PSA. During the video, in which he dons a purple tie, Alex said, "In order to help patients survive this disease, more attention and awareness are needed."

It seems that James, Brad, and Ken took that message to heart and wore their ribbons to help Alex spread that attention and awareness. It's their way of saying what all the Jeopardy! contestants, and people around the world have been saying: "We love you, Alex."

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