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Pakistani Chef Fatima Ali Bags James Beard Award For Her Essay On Life As Cancer Patient

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Pakistan’s top chef Fatima Ali, who passed away on January 25 this year after a prolonged battle with cancer, was posthumously awarded the James Beard award for her essay in which she shared her life as a cancer patient.

The chef wrote a short form of the essay ‘I’m a Chef with Terminal Cancer. This Is What I’m Doing with the Time I Have Left’ in Bon Appétit magazine. In her essay, she described that she had only a year left to live and wanted to make amends with people and serve them the tastiest of dishes.

“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,” Fatima wrote in her essay.

She described how the hospital she had been seeking treatment at had become her home and the staff her family. Fatima also mentioned her nurse who she called ‘mom’. “Everyone’s amazed that I’m taking it so well. But when you hit rock bottom, there really is no place to go but up.”

“I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life,” she concluded.

Fatima had appeared on season 15 of the reality competition show as a contestant and was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer — Ewing’s Sarcoma — right after.

Chemotherapy appeared to benefit her initially but cancer returned in September last year with doctors telling her it has metastasized.

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