It was a birthday party to remember. Eli Schwartz, a Stamford student battling cancer, turned 7 on Friday. And on Sunday, the Stamford community joined him to celebrate.
After learning about Eli, young local chef and Food Network “Teen Chopped” Champion Hunter Zampa decided to help out. So Hunter and his family put together a Future Chef’s Cook-Off event serving both as a birthday party and fundraiser for Eli and pediatric oncology at Yale New Haven Hospital.
The event featured food tastings from local restaurants, entertainment, and variety of activities for kids. And of course, the party wouldn’t have been complete without turtles, animals that hold a special meaning for Eli and his family.
“When Eli came out of his first surgery, the holding are for post-op is all decorated with sea animals,” says Deborah Schwartz, Eli’s mother. “I remember being on the gurney with him and him looking up and seeing a turtle on the ceiling and said ‘Mom, do turtles have freckles?’ I think they’re just meaningful, just very soulful animals that are peaceful, so we collect the turtles.”