Gordon Ramsay Gave $50K to Help with MasterChef Junior's Ben Watkins' Cancer Treatments
Ben Watkins died Monday after struggling with a rare form of cancer for a year-and-a-half
The judge donated $50,000 this summer to help cover Watkin's medical expenses and cancer treatment, Variety confirmed.
Around the same time he gave the major sum, Ramsay and several of Watkins' season 6 competitors on MasterChef Junior sent him a video to help raise money and wish him a speedy recovery. "If you can beat me in the MasterChef Junior kitchen, trust me, you can beat this. God bless, and lots of love, buddy," Ramsay said.
Watkins died, three months later, on Nov. 16, the Chicago Tribune reported. He was 14.
The teen's death came three years after both his parents were killed in a domestic violence incident in 2017.
In a statement issued last Monday, Ben's uncle Anthony Edwards and grandmother Donna Edwards said that he had gone "home to be with his mother."
"After losing both his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben's strength, courage and love for life," the statement, shared on a GoFundMe campaign page, said. "He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know.
Days before his 13th birthday last year, Ben was diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, an extremely rare soft tissue tumor that occurs in only a small number of children and young adults.
"When Ben's rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe — especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you've done."
"Ben suffered more than his share in his fourteen years on this Earth but we take solace in that his suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many," the statement concluded.
Ben was treated at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Edwards told the Chicago Tribune that a golf-ball-sized tumor had grown into a grapefruit-sized mass in his nephew's neck and that Ben had been undergoing chemotherapy for tumors on his lungs, spine and shoulder as well.
"Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once," Edwards told the Chicago Tribune of his nephew, whom he took legal guardianship over following the death of the aspiring cook's parents.
"We were praying for a different outcome," Edwards said. "But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating."