Anne Lamott Is Raising Money to Cover the Cost of Molly O’Neill’s Extensive Medical Journey

After cancerous cells spread from her liver, the award-winning food columnist is having both adrenal glands removed

Award-winning food writer Molly O’Neill is scheduled to undergo surgery to treat a spreading cancer, and her dear friend, acclaimed novelist Anne Lamott, is doing what she can to pitch in. The Bird by Bird author is leading a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her friend’s procedure. 

O’Neill was the food columnist at The New York Times for 10 years, and she is the author of three cookbooks, including the award-winning The New York Cookbook. Throughout her career as a writer and a chef, O’Neill has claimed two James Beard awards and one Julia Child award, in addition to having been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

In the summer of 2016, O’Neill fell critically ill and had to have a liver transplant. The pathology report on the removed liver revealed cancerous cells, which metastasized to her adrenal glands. Doctors didn’t discover the spread until August of this year. 

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So far, O’Neill has finished one course of chemo and is scheduled for a bilateral adrenalectomy on November 15. Her family was able to help cover the cost of medications and after-care for her first surgery, but is unable to do so moving forward. That’s why Lamott has stepped in to help her raise money through GoFundMe. The page lists a goal of $100,000 to support a year-long course of medications — as well as to facilitate a manuscript O’Neill is writing, a new book to be titled Liver: A Love Story.

“What’s keeping Molly’s amazing mind and spirit light through all this is her passion for helping others and completing the memoir she’s been working on about the transformative emotional and spiritual awakening that she experienced during her extreme medical journal,” Lamott wrote in an email, which has since been forwarded even more broadly by food writer Ruth Reichl.

To date, O’Neill has reached a quarter of her goal. The GoFundMe, which is now trending on the site, has collected over $25,000 in donations since it began on November 6.


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