Jeopardy Contestant Dies Before Show Airs, Tells Alex To Donate Winnings To Cancer Research

Contestants on “Jeopardy” are always bright with interesting stories, but contestant Cindy Stowell was truly the most special contestant the show has ever seen.

That’s because being on the popular show was her dying wish.

The 41-year-old science content developer from Austin, Texas had just passed the show’s online contestant test and was preparing for the in-person audition when she received terrible news from her doctor. She was diagnosed with colon cancer and only had months to live.


Stowell reached out to a producer with the news. The following is an excerpt from the email she sent to them:

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 six 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. It if is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my tryout spot to someone else.

In an effort to make her final wish a reality, producers booked her just three weeks later.

During her time on the show, few staff members knew of her condition. She wasn’t looking for sympathy, she was looking for competition.


Stowell’s performance on the show was incredible! She was fighting Stage IV cancer, on painkillers, had a high fever, and was fighting a blood infection yet still managed to dethrone the reigning champion! She went on to win four more episodes.

As if her brains weren’t enough of a testament to the amazing woman that Stowell was, her compassion and willingness to help others in her situation were.

With winnings of $61,001, Stowell left the producers instructions to donate her winnings to the Cancer Research Institute. It takes a person with a big heart and generous soul to use their dying wish as a way to help others.

Unfortunately, Stowell passed away on December 5th before her episode aired. Her act of kindness along with her winning streak will put her down in “Jeopardy” history.

“She knew she wasn’t going to be around,” said Stowell’s boyfriend, “and so she felt like the best thing she could do was try to help do what she could to help get us to a cure faster.”

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[Source: New York Times]


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