On tonight’s episode of Jeopardy, contestant Cindy Stowell lives out one of her dreams, being a part of the show. Sadly, Stowell has died of cancer and will not get to watch the episode. The science content developer from Austin, Texas, passed away on December 5, 2016. Read on for her touching story, kind words from Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, and the sad news of her passing.
1. In Being on the Show, Stowell’s Goal Was to Donate the Proceeds to Cancer Research
Stowell didn’t go on Jeopardy to become rich or have 15 minutes of fame. Her goal was to donate her prize money to cancer-related organizations for the greater good. Her family told the show:
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 hopes that no one else would have to go through what she did.
Her episode of the show was taped on August 31, 2016.
2. Her Longtime Boyfriend Announced Her Death
In her passing, Stowell left behind a loving family and a longtime boyfriend named Jason Hess. Upon her death, Hess tweeted the following message:
In the early morning hours cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for. Love you always. She was such a badass. She’s going to be on Jeopardy next Tues (12/13). Y’all should watch.
Also on Twitter, Hess revealed that Stowell “was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.”
3. Stowell Appeared on the Show With Stage 4 Cancer
As Stowell went through the process of interviewing and auditioning for the show, she revealed her illness to the staff. She wrote the following message to producer Maggie Speak:
Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date? I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about 6 months. If there is the chance that I’d be able to still tape episodes of Jeopardy! if I were selected, I’d like to do that and donate any winnings to … charities involved in cancer research. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else.
Stowell went on Jeopardy while having stage 4 cancer and host Alex Trebek released the following statement upon her death:
When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on “Jeopardy!,” she had Stage 4 cancer. Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.
According to the show, Stowell’s opponents were not aware that she was sick.
4. Fellow Contestants Have Raved About Stowell’s Kindness
While contestants were not aware that she was sick, upon hearing of her death, several have spoken out to pay their respects. A production editor from Simon & Schuster, named Chelsea Cohen, told the NY Post:
She was very nice, very quiet, just a very nice person to be around.
Cohen taped her episode the same day as Stowell, as did a woman named Bridget McNulty, who tweeted this message:
She taped the same day as me, she was an awesome person and brought a great cheering squad.
5. Stowell Died of Colon Cancer
The 41-year-old had been battling colon cancer when she died. Cosmopolitan reports that she is the first contestant in the show’s history to pass away before their episode premieres. The NY Post reveals that her family asks that well-wishers donate to the Cancer Research Institute in Stowell’s name.