Jeopardy! contestant Cindy Stowell donated her entire prize money to cancer research before she died of cancer on Last Monday, December 5 at the age of 41. It was her lifelong dream to appear on the show, but cancer claimed her life before she could see the episode on television.
Ms. Cindy Stowell had taped her Jeopardy! episode on August 31. Before her episode could air, she passed away after battling stage 4 colon cancer in Austin, Texas, reported CNN. Earlier, her long-time boyfriend, Jason Hess, made an announcement about her death on Twitter.
He wrote, “In the early morning hours, cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for. Love you always.”
Jeopardy! contestant Cindy Stowell was a science content developer and held a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. She competed on the show with a single goal of donating all her prize money to cancer research organizations. It was reported she wanted to prevent others from going through the same ordeal.
According to a joint statement by her parents and Mr. Hess, “Cindy came on Jeopardy! To play the game she loved and in doing so, she was able to make a contribution to cancer research in the hope that no one else would have to go through what she did.”
Before qualifying as a Jeopardy! contestant, Cindy Stowell passed an initial online test earlier in the year. After clearing the test, she became eligible for an in-person audition at Oklahoma City, according to People. Until this point, no one related to the show was aware of her battle with cancer.
Before the in-person interview, Ms. Stowell discussed the time it would take between the interview and taping of the episode with Jeopardy! producer Maggie Speak. At this point, she also revealed that the reason for asking was that according to the doctors, she had at best only six months left.
The Jeopardy! show staff asked her to attend the scheduled interview and promised to tape her episode as quickly as possible, provided she was selected. The show’s producer kept their word and taped the episode three weeks after she was selected in the auditions.
Ms. Stowell was worried that Jeopardy! producers would be unable to tape the episode in such a short time even if she were to pass the in-person interview. As such, she was prepared to give her spot to someone else.
At the time of filming the episode only a handful of the Jeopardy! show staff members knew about the contestant Ms. Cindy Stowell’s cancer. However, Alex Trebek, the show’s long-time host, knew about her illness.
He said in a statement, “Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at ‘Jeopardy!’ offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”
She was suffering from a high-grade fever, which later turned out to be a blood infection, and was surviving on painkillers during the taping of the show. Her opponents were also unaware of her illness.
It is the first time in the history of the show that a Jeopardy! contestant died before the episode could air. Jeopardy! was first aired in 1964.
Ms. Cindy Stowell’s boyfriend and other contestants are asking people to watch her episode. Jeopardy! contestant Bridget McNulty, who was in the same group as Ms. Cindy, believes she has fulfilled her dream.
Former contestant Josh Mcllvain said, “Please join me next Tuesday by watching Cindy’s game. If you’re so inclined, raise a glass in her honor. I would love for her family and friends to know her dream was shared with many, many people.”
The episode featuring Ms. Cindy Stowell will air on Tuesday, December 13.
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