‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Christine Whelchel Recalls Why She Removed Her Wig on National TV

June 30, 2022
Sailaja Darisipudi
Sailaja Darisipudi

Sailaja Darisipudi(she/her), the senior editor for social media and audience generation for CURE Today, has been with MJH Life Sciences since June 2022. Sailaja has previously led communications for nonprofit organizations fighting against gendered violence and worked as an educator. She believes passionately in fighting for gender equality, destigmatizing mental health, making quality health resources available across socio-economic statuses and decreasing the gap between public education and the complexities of the American health care system. At Rutgers University, Sailaja studied public health, wrote and edited for newspapers such as RU Examiner and EMSOP Chronicles and accumulated an alarming number of parking tickets. When not working, Sailaja can be found getting lost (literally and metaphorically) in new cities, overanalyzing various romance books and streaming shows, and ordering all the vegetarian items at different restaurants. You can also find her on Twitter at @SailajaDee.

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Darlene Dobkowski, MA
Darlene Dobkowski, MA

Darlene Dobkowski, Managing Editor for CURE® magazine, has been with the team since October 2020 and has covered health care in other specialties before joining MJH Life Sciences. She graduated from Emerson College with a Master’s degree in print and multimedia journalism. In her free time, she enjoys buying stuff she doesn’t need from flea markets, taking her dog everywhere and scoffing at decaf.

In less than a year, Christine Whelchel went from receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer to becoming a trailblazing “Jeopardy!” champion.

Christine Whelchel wasn’t going to let breast cancer slow her down. The Tennessee native and piano teacher was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2021 and less than a year later, she was a “Jeopardy!” champion.

Whelchel made headlines in March when she appeared in the Feb. 28, 2022, episode of “Jeopardy!” without her wig to normalize what cancer recovery looks like. This decision was applauded by “Jeopardy!” fans and cancer survivors around the world.

On her decision, Whelchel said, “My hair had just gotten to that point where I was more comfortable. I was getting less self-conscious about it, but then the idea of being on national TV with (my short hair) was a big step. I'm thinking, do I really want to do this? ... I decided this is something I need to do. This is something that people need to see, that this is what we (cancer survivors) go through.”

Whelchel won four consecutive games and racked up $73,602 in winnings.

On today’s episode of Cancer Horizons, Whelchel discusses her cancer and “Jeopardy!” journeys, as well as what it was like to audition for “Jeopardy!” the day before her double mastectomy and much more.

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