Tag Archives: Alex Trebek

Tragic and uplifting story comes to an end

Millions of Americans knew how this story would end.

A brilliant young woman competed on a popular TV game show while suffering from terminal cancer. She competed for nearly a week on the show, piling up winnings exceeding $100,000.

Then was dethroned as champion. Then she died on Dec. 5, a bit more than week before the taped episodes were aired. Her family, adhering to her wishes, donated her winnings to researching cures for the cancer that would take her life.

Her name was Cindy Stowell, a 41-year-old computer genius from Austin, Texas. She competed on “Jeopardy!” My wife and I were among the Americans who watched her compete and cheered for her every step of the way.


We were filled with terribly mixed emotions Wednesday afternoon while watching Cindy’s final appearance.  We wanted her to win. We also waited to see how the show’s host, Alex Trebek, would pay tribute to her after her run had concluded.

Trebek did so beautifully at the end of the show. I welled up listening him talk about Cindy’s “lifelong desire” to be a “Jeopardy!” contestant. Her story broke my heart and lifted my spirits, as I’m sure it did all those who followed her brief journey in the national limelight.

She was able to fulfill her dream and died a champion.

Godspeed, Cindy Stowell.

You go, Cindy Stowell!


I’ve been doing something quite unusual the past few days.

I have been planning my days around a TV game show. “Jeopardy!” airs in Amarillo on KFDA NewsChannel 10 every weekday afternoon at 4:30. I’m planning to tune in once again Monday to see how a young woman from Austin does on her fifth appearance as a contestant.

Cindy Stowell has won more than $100,000 while dispatching opponents over the course of four days. Her back story is astonishing to the max.

Stowell has died. She left this world on Dec. 5, about a week before her appearance on “Jeopardy!” was to begin airing. She competed while suffering from cancer. She knew she had little time to live. So did a few program staffers and the show’s  host, Alex Trebek.

Stowell agreed to donate her winnings to cancer-related research charities.

“Jeopardy!” producers aren’t divulging how much longer Stowell will be on the show; as the champ, she competes until someone beats her.

The New York Times reported today that this show — already immensely popular — has developed a unique following as the nation watches this amazing, brave young computer programmer compete in the amazing brain-teaser game.


As the Times reported: While it’s not unusual for the show to establish back stories for the contestants, the viewers’ knowledge of Ms. Stowell’s condition ‘is to share a sad secret with her,’ Seth Rosenthal wrote at SB Nation.

“’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.’”

Neither have many of us. This story breaks my heart and lifts my spirits … all at once. Amazing!