Inside Masterchef Junior Star Ben Watkins' Sad Diagnosis

Ben Watkins, an innovative cook and Masterchef Junior contestant, has faced more difficulties at age 13 than most people do in a lifetime. After losing his parents three years ago, the young teenager has been diagnosed with a rare tumor, according to a GoFundMe established by several family members. The GoFundMe is actively taking donations as he undergoes medical treatment.

"Despite all of Ben's trials and tribulations, he remains positive and looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an engineer," notes the GoFundMe (via Today). The teen was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor called angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, which is extraordinarily rare — he is one of only six people worldwide with this diagnosis. This type of tumor is usually found in kids and young adults, and Ben is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. 

Ben's resilience has been evident for years: When he was as young as 11, he was crafting recipes at his family's restaurant, experimenting with barbecued chicken sandwiches and sweet potato pound cakes, according to the Northwest Indiana Times.

Ben then competed on Masterchef Junior, a notoriously competitive show in which contestants, ages 8 to 13, face off in the kitchen. He placed in the top 18, according to Today.

Ben Watkins is an innovative chef-to-be

During his time on Masterchef Junior, Ben showed positivity, determination, and resilience. When he left the show, he showed a graciousness far beyond his years: "I got to meet amazing friends and it was a good opportunity to learn a lot more about cooking. It's awesome to have made it this far," he said, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Even while dealing with the difficulty of losing his parents, he continued giving to others. He walked his family's dogs on weekends, participated in his school's chess club, and spent time volunteering to repair broken bikes for underserved children. He enjoys math and science — two subjects he associates with cooking — and he not only hopes to continue his culinary aspirations, but also to work as an engineer.

Since his parents' death and his more recent diagnosis, Ben's family and community members have rallied to show their support. His grandmother and uncle, along with their attorney, monitor the GoFundMe; residents in his Indiana community have established a trust fund for his education.

But the real inspiration comes from Ben, who's been facing adversity with an unfathomable kindness.