Thomas Edison: Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
We tape Jeopardy every day and I enjoy answering the questions in my living room…without ever saying “What is?” before my answer. Alex Trebek would be appalled!
Yesterday, we had 22 minutes to watch Tuesday’s episode where the seven-day champion was replaced by Cindy Stowell. She made the news last week because, unfortunately, she died a week before her episodes began airing on TV.
When the science content developer from Austin, Texas began recording her episodes on Aug. 31, she had Stage 4 colon cancer, a fact known by only a few of the show’s staff members and the host, Alex Trebek. Her competitors were unaware.
Her family stated: “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.” According to a local TV station in Austin, her winnings will go to the Cancer Research Institute. Her boyfriend told the station: “She knew she wasn’t going to be around, 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.”
After passing an online contestant test early this year, Ms. Stowell was invited to an audition in Oklahoma City. At that point, she reached out to a producer. “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,” she wrote.
“The doctor’s best guess is about six months,” she continued. “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.”
A producer told her to go to Oklahoma City for the interview, and if she qualified she would be booked three weeks later, the fastest turnaround possible. She competed on painkillers while fighting a blood infection. “Competing on ‘Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so,” Mr. Trebek said in a statement.
Journalist Seth Rosenthal wrote “I sit in awe of a brilliant woman earning every last dollar she can for the causes dearest to her; building a sum of infinite potential in the face of her own finality,” he said. “I have never rooted harder for anyone to win anything.”
We are currently watching Wednesday’s episode, and I understand she wins the next two shows too. The producers of “Jeopardy” won’t disclose how long she appears on the show when she’s beaten by another contestant, but in my book, Cindy is the ultimate champion.