The 20-year-old died in July after suffering a seizure in his sleep due to epilepsy
Cameron Boyce‘s loved ones are on a mission to make sure the late actor’s legacy lives on — and saves lives.
Four months after the Descendants star died suddenly at age 20 in his home after suffering a seizure in his sleep due to epilepsy, the Cameron Boyce Foundation launched in his honor by his parents has teamed up with the Epilepsy Foundation’s SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) Institute to raise awareness about the disease.
In a powerful new PSA, Cameron’s parents Libby and Victor Boyce, along with other family and friends, come together to shine a light on epilepsy and the risks of SUDEP.
“Cameron Boyce, our son, my best friend, the best thing that ever happened to me, our sunshine,” they tell the camera. “We had no idea SUDEP could take Cameron from us.”
While SUDEP is rare, epilepsy is not — and one in 26 of us will develop the disease in our lifetime, the PSA states. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the neurological disorder actively affects about 3.4 million people in the U.S., and around 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. die every year from SUDEP.
In an interview with Good Morning America promoting the PSA, Libby and Victor said they hope to raise awareness about epilepsy and fund more research into the disease.
“We don’t want anybody to lose their child to anything,” Victor said. “Because this feeling, it’s just the worst.”
“Every time you think about it, it’s just a knife — it’s a hole and a knife in your heart,” Libby added.
Still, they are hopeful that their loss can help prevent other parents from going through a similar tragedy.
“We’ve heard from doctors throughout the country that people are coming in and asking about epilepsy because of Cameron,” Libby said. “So that makes us feel good, that maybe everything is not in vain, that maybe people are going to learn more about their disease.”
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Cameron had appeared in films including Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, Eagle Eye, and also starred in the Disney Channel franchises Jessie and Descendants.
Following his death, his family started the Cameron Boyce Foundation to honor his legacy. According to the foundation’s website, it “provides young people artistic and creative outlets as alternatives to violence and negativity and uses resources and philanthropy for positive change in the world.”
Boyce was cremated, and his family was able to take his ashes home, according to the actor’s death certificate obtained by PEOPLE.