‘MasterChef Junior’ Star Diagnosed with Rare Tumor Years
A 13-year-old “MasterChef Junior” star has been diagnosed with a rare tumor, years after his parents died in a tragic murder-suicide.
Ben Watkins won over the hearts of millions when the young chef put his culinary skills to the test on season six of the Fox network show. Days before his 13th birthday, he was diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, a rare soft tissue tumor that affects children and young adults, PEOPLE reports.
The diagnosis is the latest distressing setback for the family, as it comes nearly three years after Watkins’ father shot and killed his mother, and then himself, according to the Chicago Tribune. At the time, Watkins was a contestant on MasterChef Junior and people across the country helped raise $30,000 as a trust fund for the boy.
Watkins is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. His family has relaunched a GoFundMe campaign, known as #Love4Ben to help cover his medical bills and future schooling expenses. The fundraiser was initially set up for Watkins in 2017, following the death of his parents.
“Shortly after his 13th birthday, Ben was diagnosed with a rare illness called Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, a soft tissue tumor usually in children and young adults,” the family shared on July 24.
“Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with this illness,” the statement continued. “Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.”
The medical update comes from Watkins’ aunt and uncle, who shared the news via the newly launched fundraising campaign.
“Despite all of Ben’s trials and tribulations, he remains positive,” the family said, “and looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an engineer.”