Pakistani-American chef and former ‘Top Chef’ contestant Fatima Ali was diagnosed with with terminal cancer in September and told she has only one-year to live. However, instead of wallowing in sorrow, Ali revealed she’s going live out the remaining days of her life to the fullest.
Ali, who aimed to “bring Pakistani food to the world on a modern, creative platform,” recently made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where she opened up about her battle and received $50k from the host to help pay for her to travel the world.
Fatima Ali is a 29-year-old woman, top chef, and has a year left to live. She’s an inspiration.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 2, 2018
Ali, who moved to New York at the age of 18, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2017. Ali, 29 who was voted “fan favorite” during the last season of Top Chef revealed that doctors had told her she had only one year to live. The chef shared she was initially deemed cancer-free in July after undergoing chemotherapy and surgery. However, she learned in September that cancer had spread.
“It was obviously incredibly jarring,” she said. “It was the biggest shock of my life, but I knew that the only way I was going to beat this was through positivity and rallying the people around me.”
She recalled, “I looked at my doctor and I was like, tell me straight. How long do I have? He was like, a year.”
To this DeGeneres replied, “That’s a lot to hear.”
“Its crazy,” Ali responded. “But life is crazy.”
The host then went onto ask her of her bucket list and plans for the next year.
Ali excitedly responded: “I get to cross this [Ellen Show appearance] off my bucket list. This is huge.”
She continued, “I have so many restaurants I want to go to around Europe. Go to Italy. Go to France. Go to Spain. Go to South Africa … go on a safari. So many things I want to do.”
“I’m so looking forward to this next year because I’m surrounded with so much positivity,” Ali added. “I’m so lucky to have friends and family like I do.”
“We all should be living like that, because none of us know what tomorrow is,” DeGeneres said in response to Ali’s comments.
The interview ended with DeGeneres surprising Ali with a check for $50,000 from Shutterfly to help her fulfill all her dreams and wishes.
Ali’s co-stars on Top Chef have also set up a GoFundMe page to support her travels and final wishes. Any funds that she does not use will be donated to the Sarcoma Foundation of America.
Watch the entire interview here: