December 22, 2016

Goodbye to Cindy Stowell, who got through 6 rounds of "Jeopardy!" while suffering from stage 4 cancer, which she knew was killing her...

... and which did kill her 3 months after the episodes were taped and before the episodes were aired.



We've been watching the series, not knowing how far she would go. She finally lost, in her 6th game, aired yesterday:
Cindy won her first game, unseating reigning seven-game champ Tim Aten and claiming $22,801, then went on to win the remaining three games that day. She returned to Austin for a short break before the next tape session on September 13, when she won two more games and brought her final total to $103,801.

When Cindy was in the hospital, Jeopardy! sent her advance copies of her first three episodes, so she and her family were able to watch her realize a lifelong dream of competing on the show. Jeopardy! also expedited Cindy’s prize money, and she received and acknowledged it before she passed.
The NYT article about her explains that she suffered from nausea and abdominal pain during the taping, that "her fever broke in the middle of an episode," and that her reaction time was impaired by painkilling drugs. 
“She really saw it as a personal challenge to test herself in this forum that she watched and loved,” her longtime boyfriend, Jason Hess, said in a phone interview on Monday. “She said going in that her main objective was not to embarrass herself. Clearly, she achieved that.”...

After passing an online contestant test this year, Ms. Stowell, a science content developer from Austin, Tex., asked a producer if the show could speed up the audition process “because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live,” according to the show’s website....

“This was a very pleasant surprise at a time when a lot of things weren’t going right for her,” he said of the show. “She threw everything she could into it, and you can see the results.”

Ms. Stowell and Mr. Hess were college sweethearts, having met 22 years ago at Virginia Tech when she was studying chemical engineering. They would watch “Jeopardy!” together every day, he said. Trivia was a key ingredient of their social life in recent years. They often played as a two-person team at local pubs, and traveled to compete in national competitions. She was also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player and a founding member of a team at the University of Texas when she got a Ph.D. there, Mr. Hess said.

32 comments:

Bill said...

What a woman. R.I.P.

Tarrou said...

White privilege IMO


I am not Laslo

JAORE said...

Go down fighting!

Michael K said...

"White privilege IMO"

I define white privilege as homework.

Notice the PhD was not in "Studies."

Mark said...

I read about her before she was on the air, but thought she would be a one-off. Then I forgot about her. Sorry I didn't see any of her except the Final Jeopardy last night where she lost.

MisterBuddwing said...

her fever broke in the middle of an episode...

Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?

I watched Cindy Stowell's entire "Jeopardy!" run and admired her courage, but I didn't fully realize how much she was suffering during the tapings - she did a good job of hiding it.

RIP, Ms. Stowell.

David Begley said...

In the video (and I will paraphrase): "Just when you think the odds are against you, you can prevail via luck or...."

She knew the double meaning of what she was saying. Jeopardy champion!

Big advances in cancer drugs these days. We are winning.

MathMom said...

I have something in my eye.

MisterBuddwing said...

She finally lost, in her 6th game

Actually, Cindy Stowell was a six-time winner, and lost her seventh game.

Brando said...

I was watching those episodes--she seemed quiet and nervous but it never occurred to me that she was suffering complications at the time.

Nice to achieve several victories on the show though.

RightIsRight said...

I'm a Type-B personality. I'm thinking she was a Type-A.

I always think to myself (when I see a Type-A) that they are so intense that they are burning through the stuff that gets us all to age 60.

Curious George said...

"Mark said...
I read about her before she was on the air, but thought she would be a one-off. Then I forgot about her. Sorry I didn't see any of her except the Final Jeopardy last night where she lost."

Jinx.

AprilApple said...

I think it's wonderful that the show did not let on to her illness while the show was being taped.

MadisonMan said...

I have something in my eye.

I don't think this will help then. But it's a great story.

Marc Puckett said...

Jim Geraghty at National Review was a friend of Cindy Stowell, and he's written about her, and her on Jeopardy &c, occasionally over the last couple of weeks.

Big Mike said...

@MathMom, me too. Must be all that pollen in the air this time of year.

Arthur James said...

Some things are just absolutely life affirming. You are a beautiful soul Cindy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?"

It involves profuse sweating.

Rick Lee said...

After the first show (she was on) I said to my wife "You should have seen Jeopardy today, that guy that had been champion for so long just got trounced by this girl... and she was so shy she just looked down the whole time after winning". My wife said "Was that the girl I read about that died?" I couldn't believe it... we don't always watch and we don't usually talk about the winners but this one just made such an impression on me even before I knew she was dying. We set the TiVo to record it and watched the whole series of her shows. She just seemed like such an interesting person and had those huge puppy dog eyes. Sad but fascinating.

MathMom said...

MadisonMan -

You are right. That didn't help.

MathMom said...

Big Mike -

You have the same pollen problem as me, eh?

MadisonMan said...

MathMom, I had not even heard of the Venmo website, and none of the stories I read about 'the sign' included everything about the story.

I'm more impressed with Nigel Hayes after seeing that link.

mikee said...

Shouldn't these comments all be in the form of questions?

MisterBuddwing said...

Shouldn't these comments all be in the form of questions?

Are you kidding me?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

MisterBuddwing said...Are you kidding me?

Youtube: R&G are D - Questions

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Also, comfort to Cindy Stowell's family & friends.

The Cracker Emcee said...

God bless her. I don't think I would have had the character to do all that with grace in those circumstances.

traditionalguy said...

Courage! Don't leave home without it.

Yancey Ward said...

Death With Dignity.

Who is Cindy Stowell?

EDH said...

Terminal cancer diagnosis must lend a whole new gravity to those short interviews Trebeck does down the line of contestants after the first commercial break, where you're supposed to provide an interesting or clever anecdote.

For Cindy, seven of them!

Geez, at that point it's almost like having to defend your life.

Rob McLean said...

Ms. Stowell and Mr. Hess were college sweethearts, having met 22 years ago at Virginia Tech when she was studying chemical engineering.

I guess they figured they had all the time in the world to marry and have a family.

Sad.

Steven said...

So, what do you do when a qualifier for the Tournament of Champions has died?