Hillsborough County child fighting cancer receives special surprise through MasterChef

A Hillsborough County boy fighting cancer got a one-of-a-kind surprise Sunday. 

Eleven-year-old Elijah Cephas uses cooking to cope with treatment after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. 

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One of his favorite shows is FOX's MasterChef Junior, and one of his favorite contestants from the show, 11-year-old Elijah Zelaya, surprised Cephus with a special cooking surprise.

Elijah Cephas couldn't believe his eyes when he walked to his family's home to find Zelaya there.

"They just said there's another Elijah, and he's a really big fan of you, and he wants to meet you," Zelaya said.

Two years ago, Cephas was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Last spring, he was declared cancer-free, but in January the cancer returned. 

It meant part of his leg had to be amputated below the knee. Throughout his treatment, his family says he turned to cooking to cope.

"It was amazing. One day we were sitting at home together, and we were watching Junior Chef and rooting for Elijah. He was a part of our family," Elijah Cephas' mom Sheena Cephas said.

The organization Papou's Mouse, which connects childhood cancer survivors with families currently battling cancer, heard about Elijah Cephas' love for the show and for his favorite contestant Elijah Zelaya.

So, they put a special meeting. On Sunday, Zelaya surprised Cephas with a special cooking experience.

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"He loves cooking, and he found it as a comfort to cope with everything that he's been going through, so him seeing Elijah Z and being able to be in there and do something he loves with someone he loves also is the blessing on top of many blessings," Sheena Cephas said.

As part of the surprise, both Elijah's prepared a meal for their family, which included empanadas, crab cakes, roasted potatoes and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. 

It was an uplifting moment for a family that's been through so much. 

His mother hopes the moment inspires him to continue to pursue his love for cooking.

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"He goes through so much, and we like to not push him too hard. We make sure that he does what he loves to do and what he wants to do so I think this is actually another open door for him to start his venture," Sheena Cephas said.