Cancer-stricken Jeopardy champ wins $103K US before death

A woman who died of cancer just days before her appearance on Jeopardy! aired won six contests in a row and more than $103,000 US, some of which she donated to cancer research.

Texas woman, who filmed her episodes in August and September, died in early December

Cindy Stowell appears on the Jeopardy! set with Alex Trebek in Culver City, Calif., in this Aug. 31. Stowell, who died of cancer this month just days before her appearance on Jeopardy! aired, won six consecutive episodes and more than $103,000 US, some of which has been donated toward cancer research. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc./Associated Press)

Faced with a terminal diagnosis in her battle against colon cancer, Cindy Stowell saw an appearance on Jeopardy in her final months as a "good opportunity" to help others struggling against the disease by donating money she might win to cancer research.

She made the most of it by winning six nights in a row and more than $103,000 US in a run that ended on Wednesday's episode.

The Austin, Texas, woman died Dec. 5 at the age of 41, eight days before her first appearance aired on Dec. 13.

Jeopardy sent her advance copies of three of her appearances so she could watch them in the hospital, the show said in a statement. It also expedited getting her winnings to her.

Before her August audition for the show, Stowell emailed a Jeopardy producer that she didn't have long to live and that if she were selected she'd like to donate any winnings to charities involved in cancer research.

She passed the audition and was booked for the first available taping on Aug.31, Jeopardy said. She won four games taped that day and returned for a Sept. 13 taping. She won two more games before finishing second in her final appearance.

"Cindy came on the show with a mission. We gave her the opportunity to fulfil that mission and she made the most of it," said executive producer Harry Friedman.

In a video released by the show Wednesday night, Stowell called her appearance "a line in the sand" that she drew in her battle against the disease.

"I wanted to donate a lot of the money to cancer research partly because — this is hard and I'm sorry, maybe I should pause or something like that — I'm dying of cancer and I'd really would like the money I win to help others. And so this seems like a good opportunity."

The Cancer Research Institute tweeted its thanks to Stowell on Wednesday for donating winnings and inspiring others to do the same.

Stowell came from behind to win several times during her run, which she said made the experience stressful, yet fun.

"Even when you think the odds are completely against you somehow you know, via luck or something, things can work out."