Former ‘Top Chef’ Contestant Says She Has a Year to Live

“Every day is an opportunity for me to experience something new,” Fatima Ali writes in powerful essay for Bon Apppétit

Former “Top Chef” contestant and chef Fatima Ali says she has a year to live.

Ali writes in an essay for Bon Appétit that cancer she and her doctors thought had gone is back, in her hip and femur bone, and her oncologist recently told her she has a year left. She was diagnosed with Erwings Sarcoma not long after competing on the 15th season of the Bravo cook-off series.

“It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living,” the 29-year-old wrote in the essay, titled “I’m a Chef With Terminal Cancer. This Is What I’m Doing with the Time I Have Left.” Some of the things she says she is doing with her remaining time is eating at the best restaurants in the world, making amends with those she loves, and dying her hair platinum blonde.

“When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel. I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before.”

Ali continued to write: “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.”

“I think back to my favorite movie of all time, ‘American Beauty,'” Ali wrote in closing. “‘I don’t think that there’s anything worse than being ordinary,’ Mena Suvari says as she sits with Kevin Spacey’s lecherous character. I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life.”

Read her essay in full here.