He’s a ten-year-old boy who is constantly hungry due to a rare condition. Caden Benjamin even eats rolls of toilet paper if he is unable to get any other food.
Caden, from Standerton in South Africa, currently weighs 14 stone 2lbs (90 kilograms) due to his overeating.
He has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome. One of the symptoms is an obsessive compulsion to eat.
Caden’s mom Zola Benjamin says her son will eat anything he can get his hands on.
‘At one point, Caden was eating toilet paper. He’d eat rolls of it,’ she said.
‘Actually, he’d eat any paper he would find in the house. If there’s nothing for him to eat, he’ll scrape together the dirt he finds on the floor and eat that.’
A few years ago Caden’s condition meant that he was forced to undergo a tracheotomy. He now breathes through a tube inserted into his windpipe.
Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare, incurable disorder which results in physical, mental and behavioural problems.
Ms Benjamin added: ‘At three years old he was 40 kg (6 stone 4 lbs) and at that time, we didn’t know what was wrong with him.’
‘We went to a number of doctors and no one could tell us what was wrong and why he was gaining so much weight.’
Eventually a specialist at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria ran further tests and Caden’s illness was finally diagnosed.
Ms Benjamin said: ‘Normally he would start off the day by eating four slices of cheese toast and then an hour later he would drink Coke and eat leftover food from the night before.’
‘Then at lunch he’d eat two large pieces of chicken. He’d eat hourly for the rest of the day.’
Doctors have tried to put Caden on a diet, but he still wears men’s XL size clothes. Ms Benjamin has even had to lock all her kitchen cabinets and fridge.
‘He’s really battling. I feel so terrible… but the doctors said that if I want to see my son alive, then he has to go on a diet,’ she said.
‘Each and every day is a battle. I have to check up on him all day and night.’
Poor Caden even suffers from depression because he is unable to live like a normal child.
‘Sometimes he’ll just break down in tears and tells me he wants to go and play with the other children outside,’ said Ms Benjamin.
‘But he is unable to do that and there’s no way I can help him.’