Jeopardy has been sharing TV dinner trays and early evening appetizers with viewers since 1964. The wildly popular gameshow features three players (usually MUCH smarter than myself) who compete in trivial knowledge to win money. A “Jeopardy!” champion is crowned each episode, and that champion usually continues to advance to the next game until they are dethroned by a new contestant. Contestant Cindy Stowell appeared on the game after successfully mastering the arduous tests leading up to being selected to be on the show.
Contestant Cindy Stowell battled more than trivia and tricky answers
Like most players, Cindy showed up with her game face on and her knowledge at hand. She looked like your everyday Jeopardy contestant. But Cindy wasn’t just playing a game. She was there to fulfill her dying wish.
The episodes were taped back at the end of August and early September. At the time, the 41-year-old science content developer from Austin, Texas, knew she was dying of stage 4 colon cancer. She had been given only months to live.
Having already passed Jeopardy’s online test that would advance her to the casting department’s in-person interviews, Cindy decided to reach out to the show’s producer directly.
In an email she wrote:
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. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my tryout spot to someone else.
She was booked on the show just three weeks later, but would never live to see herself compete when the shows aired. Cindy lost her battle with colon cancer on December 5, 2016.