Alex Trebek Tells Autistic Man That ‘God’s Grace’ Will Help the Host Fight Cancer

Alex Trebek Tells Autistic Man That ‘God’s Grace’ Will Help the Host Fight Cancer

By Jessilyn Lancaster, Managing Editor

JEOPARDY! Host Alex Trebek surprised a superfan with the phone call of a lifetime.

Michael Kneeter, a 32-year-old man with autism, was crushed when he heard Trebek was battling cancer. Kneeter’s father died from cancer several years ago.

Trebek’s diagnosis caused Kneeter to become depressed and withdrawn. That’s when Debbie Stevens, Kneeter’s mother and a lung cancer survivor, hatched a far-fetched plan to connect Kneeter and Trebek.

“I’m a very driven person,” Stevens said. “I can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Stevens discovered Trebek’s son Matthew owns a restaurant in New York and called the younger Trebek.

According to CNN:

Stevens kept the conversation light, and Kneeter joined, telling Matthew, “I hope he (his father) feels better.” Stevens was persistent and followed the call with a get-well card she sent via certified mail, this time kindly requesting that Alex Trebek connect with them, as “it would thrill my son.”

A week and a half later, on October 18, Alex Trebek did call — but Stevens was in the bathroom and missed it. He left a voice message:

“This is a message for Michael. My name is Alex Trebek. It is Friday at about 6:00 your time. My son Matthew, who has a restaurant in North Harlem, told me that you and your mom had been in contact, and you’re fans of the show, and I just wanted to thank you for that, and I appreciate it. I hope you’re well. Maybe someday, if you manage to get to Los Angeles, you could come to a taping of the program. That would be great. Hopefully I’ll still be around hosting it. OK. You take care.”

Though Stevens missed the initial call, Trebek called back a few minutes later, and Stevens put Kneeter on the line.

“I’m going to keep fighting,” Trebek said, according to Stevens. “With God’s grace and prayers from people like you, and good wishes from folks everywhere, I’m going to come through like you.”

The JEOPARDY! host reassured Kneeter that he would continue to host the show and has no plans of leaving anytime soon.

Please continue to pray for Trebek’s healing.

Do you enjoy articles like this? Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a copy of UNPLANNED on DVD!  

Want more content like this? Make a donation to Movieguide®