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Masterchef Junior Star Ben Watkins Diagnosed With Rare Cancer 3 Years After Losing Both Parents

Masterchef Junior Star Ben Watkins Diagnosed With Rare Cancer 3 Years After Losing Both Parents

The young boy was diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma just days after his 13th birthday.

Image Source: GoFundme/#LoveForBen

Masterchef Junior star Ben Watkins is only 13-years-old, but he's been through so much already. He lost both his parents in 2017, and now he's been diagnosed with a rare illness, reports PEOPLE. The young boy was diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma just days after his 13th birthday, as per a statement from his family. AFH is an extremely rare soft tissue tumor, and it has been diagnosed in only a small number of children and young adults. Currently, he is undergoing treatment at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. The heartbreaking diagnosis comes just three years after Ben's parents died in a domestic violence incident that was ruled as a murder-suicide in 2017.



 

According to the Chicago Tribune, on September 16, 2017, Ben's father, Michael Watkins, 46, shot and killed Ben's mother, Leila Edwards, 43, before he took his own life in their home in Gary's Miller section, according to police. Leila Edwards' mother, Donna Edwards, and her younger brother, Anthony Edwards revealed at the time that there were no warning signs, and they don't know what caused Watkins to take such an extreme step. Back then, members of the community had come together and started a fund for Ben, as they wanted to make sure he would be able to follow his dreams, wherever it led him. 



 

"Ben is a remarkable young man," said Trent McCain, an attorney who helped organize the fund. "He makes a lasting impression on everyone he meets." McCain, a parent at the school in Chesterton, added, "In his 11 years, he has had to endure more loss than any young person should. That is why we, as a community, wanted to pull together and show him that he is not alone. We love him and we will always be here for him." At the time of his parents' death, Ben had just finished shooting for season six of Fox's MasterChef Junior, which finally aired in 2018. People immediately fell in love with Ben. 



 

The GoFundMe campaign, known as #Love4Ben, is now being resurfaced by his grandmother and uncle who look after Watkins to help cover the cost of his medical bills and for his future schooling. In the campaign, McCain shared: 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. Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with this illness. Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.  Today, there seems to be another update: Thanks to the outpouring of #Love4Ben, we have reached 25% of our goal! Thank you so very much for your generosity. Ben started chemotherapy today and this is sure to lift his spirits!



 

A year after the tragic death of both his parents, there was an update on the fundraising page about how Ben was doing well: Today marks one year since Ben tragically lost both of his parents. Ben is doing extremely well under the circumstances. He is loved and cared for by his maternal uncle and grandmother. He is doing well in school and he’s still cooking and baking. Ben was a fan favorite on last season of MasterChef Junior for his sweet, kind spirit. We are really close to reaching our goal to raise $30,000. Will you chip in $25 to help us cross the finish line? Thank you for all of the #Love4Ben. We sincerely hope Ben has a full recovery. 



 

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