With only a year left to live, the cancer-stricken Fatima Ali isn’t giving in to despair. Instead, the ‘Top Chef’ star revealed her ‘bucket list’ and how she plans to enjoy every last minute of her life.
“So, in July, I had clear scans. I was technically cancer free, and I had this weird ache in my left hip after we moved to Los Angeles,” Fatima Ali, 29, said to Ellen DeGeneres, 60, during her appearance on the Nov. 2 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. So, we went back to New York, got another PET scan and my doctor us down and they were like, ‘the cancer’s back.’ ”
“I looked at my doctor and I was like, ‘tell me straight, how long do I have?’ And he was like, ‘a year,’ “ the former Top Chef contestant said. “It’s crazy and life is crazy.” Despite the terminal prognosis, Fatima is not giving in to negativity. Instead, she plans to live every last minute to the fullest. “Honestly, I have so many restaurants I want to go to around Europe — you’re obviously invited. So is Portia – you know, go to Italy, go to France, go to Spain, go to South Africa. Go on a safari. So many things I want to do.”
Fatima was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer – in 2017, months after competing on season 15 of the long-running cooking competition. After undergoing surgery and chemo, it seemed she had beaten it. Sadly, on Oct. 9, in an emotional essay for Bon Appetit, she revealed that the “cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance. … My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirty, and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”
“They think I’m brave, but really, I’m not. I’m scared,” she wrote. “I suspect I won’t last very long. There’s a faint feeling deep inside my gut like a rumble of passing air, ever expanding and filling slowly until, one day, I’ll pop. Until then, every day is an opportunity for me to experience something new. I used to dream of owning my own restaurant. Now I have an ever growing list of the ones I need to visit.” Ellen – who brought up the GoFundMe that Fatima’s friends started to help cover her travel expenses – helped out by gifting her $50,000.