'MasterChef Junior' Alum Ben Watkins, 13, Diagnosed With Rare Tumor 3 Years After His Parents' Deaths
By Jackie Willis
It's another trying time for Ben Watkins and his family.
Just three years after the death of both of his parents, Watkins has been diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, an extremely rare soft tissue tumor that typically is seen in children and young adults. He was told the news not long after his 13th birthday in September.
In 2017, Watkins' parents were found dead after a domestic violence incident that was ruled a murder-suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper reported that Watkins' father shot and killed his mother, and then himself.
At the time of his parents' deaths, Watkins had just wrapped filming season 6 of Fox's MasterChef Junior, which aired the next year. After making his TV debut and placing in the top 18 on the reality competition series, people across the country started donating to Watkins' GoFundMe campaign, known as #Love4Ben, and raised $30,000 as a trust for him.
Watkins' grandmother and uncle have now resurfaced the GoFundMe page to get some financial help for the MasterChef Junior alum's medical bills and for his future schooling.
"Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with [AFH]," reads a message on the GoFundMe page. "Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago."
As of Friday, the family said they had raised over $67,000, thus meeting 25 percent of their overall goal. The site also reported that Ben started chemotherapy on Thursday.