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Generous DeGeneres: 'Ellen' drops donation, digital gift on Gainesville's Dhruv Gaur for 'Jeopardy!' gesture
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In this image provided by Warner Bros. and 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Gainesville's Dhruv Gaur is seen holding a big check while talking with host DeGeneres during the show on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Gaur's heartfelt message to "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, who is suffering from cancer, went viral after the gameshow aired on Nov. 11. DeGeneres gave Gaur a television, and Shutterfly donated $25,000 to pancreatic cancer research.

Update: Though Dhruv Gaur won’t be able to participate in the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions finals starting tonight and ending Friday, Ellen DeGeneres made sure the Gainesville man can watch in style.

The generous DeGeneres gave Gaur a 75-inch TCL Roku TV and announced a $25,000 donation from Shutterfly to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

“Gonna fit in your apartment?” DeGeneres asked.

“Uh, we’ll figure it out,” Gaur said.

Gaur, who now attends Brown University, was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Thursday, Nov. 14 to talk about his time on the quiz show and his heartwarming note to its host, Alex Trebek.

During his semifinal match, Gaur chose to write “What is we (heart) you, Alex!” instead of guessing at the answer.

“I can puzzle it together, or I could write this message to Alex. And I chose the second one,” Gaur told The Times of his thought process during the final question.

At the time of the “Jeopardy!” taping, Trebek had announced he would be re-entering treatment in his battle against pancreatic cancer.

“That was really sweet. That was really amazing and emotional,” DeGeneres said regarding the note as the audience applauded.

On Monday, Gaur saw the episode at a Brown watch party. His mom texted him about the trending #WeLoveYouAlex Twitter hashtag as it started to explode online.

Gaur also promoted the charity playalong his fellow “Jeopardy!” challengers have been organizing. 

The idea of the playalong is to keep track of the number of questions you answer correctly and donate $1 for each question to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Gaur qualified for the tournament after winning $100,000 in the college tournament in April 2018.

During “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Gaur said he has spent some of his college winnings on tuition as well as picking up the check for 20 friends going out to eat.

“And they apparently, according to the check, had a lot of fun. And so did I,” Gaur said.


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In this image from the "Jeopardy!" Instagram account and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Gainesville's Dhruv Gaur is seen after writing a heartfelt message during the Nov. 11 episode to host Alex Trebek, who is battling cancer.

Original story: Dhruv Gaur found a way to take a loss and make “something good out of it anyway.”

“I guess there’s a life lesson there,” he said.

The Brown University student from Gainesville found himself in third place for his “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions semifinal match when the final clue came up on the episode aired Monday, Nov. 11.

The contestants have only 30 seconds to jot down an answer after host Alex Trebek reads the prompt, this time on the category of “Famous Phrases”:

“In the title of a groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these 3 words follow ‘How the.’”

Gaur answered: “What is we (heart) you, Alex!”

“I can puzzle it together, or I could write this message to Alex. And I chose the second one,” Gaur told The Times of his thought process during the final question.

Gaur will appear Thursday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which starts at 4 p.m.

Trebek was noticeably choked up after reading the response. He shared earlier this year his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.

“He came over and he told us: ‘Great game.’ He came over to me personally and told me how much he appreciated that gesture,” Gaur said.

Gaur said Trebek had just announced that he was reentering treatment.

“During the Tournament of Champions, we were really privileged that he stopped by the dressing room, in fact, to talk to us. When we were having that conversation and when he was talking to all of us is when I kind of realized that this is really affecting him,” Gaur said.

On Monday, Gaur saw the episode at a Brown watch party. His mom texted him about the trending #WeLoveYouAlex Twitter hashtag as it started to explode online.

The tournament’s contestants wore purple ribbons in honor of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month as well as remembering the show’s 2018 teacher tournament champion, Larry Martin.

Martin died from pancreatic cancer in January.

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Lakeview Academy graduate Dhruv Gaur, right, pictured with Alex Trebek, competing on "Jeopardy!" in April of 2018. (photo courtesy of "Jeopardy!")

The contestants are also organizing and promoting a “charitable playalong” for the Thursday, Nov. 14 and Friday, Nov. 15 tournament finals.

“It was just something that we thought was a really great ‘thank you’ from us to Alex for being part of this show that has changed all of our lives,” Gaur said.

The idea of the playalong is to keep track of the number of questions you answer correctly and donate $1 for each question to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

“Play one night, play both nights, donate an amount that is right for you, or help spread the word to ‘Jeopardy!’ watchers and non-watchers alike — every little bit helps, and every little bit helps to honor Alex, Larry and all those who are fighting and have fought pancreatic cancer,” according to the playalong post.

Gaur first competed on “Jeopardy!” in April 2018, winning the $100,000 college tournament grand prize.

Looking back at his second run on the show, the Gainesville man said it was “nerve-wracking” particularly with the caliber of contestants.

“Well, I’ve won the college tournament, but I don’t know how I’m going to stack up against all these other people (who) have experienced a lot more of the world than I have and have been  preparing for this just by being alive for much longer than me,” Gaur said.

Gaur won his quarterfinal match in the tournament Tuesday, Nov. 5, securing his spot in Monday’s game against Emma Boettcher and Kyle Jones.

Jones is a music teacher from Aurora, Colo., and Boettcher is a user experience librarian from Chicago.

Boettcher won after answering correctly with “What is ‘other half lives?’” and will compete in the two-day final on Thursday, Nov. 14, and Friday, Nov. 15.

The winner of this tournament will walk away with a $250,000 grand prize. Second place gets $100,000, and third place will receive $50,000.

Gaur said he has become friends with this elite class of “Jeopardy!” winners, who now share a group chat.

What’s next for Gaur?

“Just going back to life as a student, I guess,” he said.

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