A "Jeopardy" contestant who died from colon cancer in early December reportedly kept her participation in the game show a secret from her family.
It is only in late December, as the August taping of the show airs, that Cindy Stowell's family and friends are watching her winning streak unfold, CNN reports.
"That's kind of been a real bright point among ... some other tragic circumstances," said Jason Hess, her boyfriend of 20 years. Hess was an audience member during the show and had worked with Stowell to keep the win a secret.
Although Hess knows the outcome of the game, he is continuing to keep it a secret from Stowell's family members.
On Dec. 19 and 20, viewers nationwide watched as Stowell won her sixth game in a row, winning $103,803.
What is even more impressive is that Stowell was not feeling well while on the show.
"Call it a surge of adrenaline," Hess said. "She was able to sort of fight through all that was going on."
“Whether it was geography or movies and music, she just kind of had one of these brains that sort of absorbed everything,” added Hess as he recalled his partner's exceptional intelligence. “Even if it was just the two of us we could usually hold our own against much larger teams, in no small part thanks to her.”
Stowell was aware she was dying, having told producers she only had six months left to live.
"Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date?" Stowell wrote in a message to producer Maggie Speak, KXAN reports. "I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live."
Her next request revealed her generous spirit.
"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," she told Speak. "If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else.”
Stowell's winnings were donated to the Cancer Research Institute.