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HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A Hopewell child dressed up in a creative costume hoping to get the best ‘treat’ this Halloween, the attention of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.

Seven-year-old Evan Jenkins is easily one of Trebek’s youngest and perhaps biggest fans. Evan has severe disabilities, but the game of Jeopardy! brings him constant joy.

Jarred and Erika Jenkins, Evan’s parents, tell 8News Evan has been watching the game show since he was a baby and faithfully tunes in every night to watch Trebek on the big screen.

“He claps and smiles as soon as the theme song comes on,” said Erika Jenkins, Evan’s mother.
Trebek, known as America’s favorite game show host since 1984, has been challenging people with trivia questions from the comfort of their own homes for decades. The popular quiz show is more than a game for the Jenkins family.

“We just want to say, thank you, Alex, for what you do, ” said Jarred Jenkins, Evan’s father. “You have touched our family’s lives. You bring our boy hope, you bring him a smile, and we appreciate that. Alex, we love you.”

Diagnosed with multiple disabilities, the seven-year-old has had quite the medical journey. Evan has undergone countless surgeries, relies on a wheelchair for mobility and is currently non-verbal, but constantly lights up with joy and smiles when his beloved Jeopardy! is on.

“As soon as Alex starts talking, Evan smiles and I think that’s something special,” Jarred Jenkins said.

Spreading their love for the show, Evan’s parents tell 8News it was a no-brainer to dress up their son as ‘mini-Trebek’ for Halloween this year.

Decked out in a gray wig and business suit with the gameboard behind him, Evan’s costume is stealing hearts across Central Virginia with the hopes that Alex Trebek would see it.

Evan’s parents also say each share and like online is a small step towards inclusion for children with disabilities.

“We want the world to see the joy that we see,” Jarred said. “Not only for Evan but for all people with disabilities. They need to be included in our society.”

Mission accomplished.

Since the story aired, Trebek saw the photos and left a sweet message for Evan on the Jeopardy! Facebook page. The message reads: “Evan, seeing you in your costume made my day. Thank you for making me smile, and I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!”