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Former 'Top Chef' contestant Fatima Ali. (Instagram)
Former 'Top Chef' contestant Fatima Ali. (Instagram)

'No time to lose’

Fatima Ali of ‘Top Chef’ reveals she has terminal cancer and was told she has 1 year to live

By WITW Staff on October 15, 2018

Fatima Ali, an NYC chef and former Top Chef contestant, revealed in a heartbreaking essay for Bon Appétit that she has terminal cancer. Her oncologist has told her that she has one year to live.

Last year, Ali was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the soft tissue and bones. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy, which she has documented on her Instagram account, and was declared cancer free. But the cancer cells have returned “with a vengeance” in her left hip and femur bone, Ali writes. “I was looking forward to being 30, flirty, and thriving,” she says. “Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”

Ali adds that she once dreamed of owning a restaurant, but in the last few months of her life, she just hopes to experience eateries that she has never had the chance to visit. An odd sense of relief has settled inside me, knowing that I can finally live for myself, even if it’s just for a few more precious months,” she writes.

“From decadent uni and truffle toast at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare to spice-laden Szechuan hot pot in Flushing, I’m sketching a plan to eat my way through New York and the boroughs while I can.”

Adrienne Cheatham, who was also a contestant on Top Chef has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money so Ali can “experience all that life has to offer this year.”

“She has so bravely and courageously shared so much of herself with us, inspiring so many to keep fighting and reminding us to appreciate life,” Cheatham writes. “Let’s help her get the most out of the life she has been given!”

Read Ali’s complete essay at Bon Appétit.