Season 15 Top Chef contestant Fatima Ali from Pakistan, recently revealed that she had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer which effects fewer than 1,000 people per year in the US. In February, Fatima unveiled that she was in the final stages of chemotherapy and that the cancer had been totally removed; she was declared cancer free. However in September, the chef felt a “weird ache” in her hip. Soon enough, she was informed by doctors that the cancer had returned and she had only one year to live.
Sharing her story on the Ellen Degeneres show, Fatima revealed that her illness came as a shock to her. She always believed that her years after Top Chef were going to be the most exciting ones of her life. But life is unpredictable. Each day should be cherished and lived to the fullest as we never know what tomorrow will bring.
When asked about her bucket list for the coming year, she said that it mostly involved eating at the top restaurants and travelling the world with her family and friends. Ali made it clear that she knew she had to overcome every obstacle that came her way while being surrounded with positivity and the people she loves the most.
She also talked about how her friends set up a GoFundMe account to help with the expenses of her vacation. Any funds that she does not use will be donated to the Sarcoma Foundation of America to help with research. Padma Lakshmi, the host of Top Chef, has been supporting Fatima immensely amidst her battle, bringing her various new foods and spending time with her during chemotherapy sessions.
At the end of the interview, Ellen surprised Fatima with a $50,000 cheque by ShutterFly to ensure that she could experience everything she wanted to, very comfortably, without any financial burden.