Cameron Boyce Foundation to Hold First Gala Ahead of Late Actor's Birthday: 'He Would Be Proud'

The Cam for a Cause Gala is being held on May 18 to help raise awareness and find a cure for epilepsy and SUDEP, which tragically caused the young actor's death in July 2019

Cameron Boyce's loved ones are continuing to keep his legacy alive close to three years after his unexpected death.

On May 18, just ten days before Cameron would've turned 23, The Cameron Boyce Foundation (TCBF) will be hosting its first-ever inaugural fundraising gala, PEOPLE can exclusively confirm.

The event — aptly titled Cam For A Cause: A Fundraiser for The Cameron Boyce Foundation To End Epilepsy — will be held in an effort to raise money and awareness for epilepsy and SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy), which tragically caused the young actor's death in July 2019.

"We've made great strides with the foundation as far as getting connected and being impactful and doing grants, but we've never been able to do an in-person event because COVID has hammered us since the beginning," Cameron's father, Victor Boyce, tells PEOPLE. "We're really excited about this opportunity to really show what we're doing and to share our stories and help us move forward in our battle against epilepsy."

"Cameron would've been 23 years old this year. Just thinking about that breaks my heart, every minute of every day," he adds. "But, every year on his birthday, he didn't want presents. He wanted to give back and he would always do something to help others. In that spirit, that's why we're doing the gala."

courtesy cameron boyce foundation
Cameron Boyce. courtesy cameron boyce foundation

Established in 2019 by Victor and Libby Boyce, TCBF was the grieving parents' effort to honor their late son's philanthropic spirit, while also hoping to fund epilepsy research.

"So many people know somebody with epilepsy," says Libby. "There are so many situations where we found ourselves thinking, 'Wow, why isn't this louder? Why aren't people talking about this?' It's just been in the shadows for too long. It's stigmatized ... and it's perplexing."

"We have an obligation to use Cameron's voice," she adds. "Even though physically he's not here, he would want us to do that, to bring attention to those people who are isolated and stigmatized because of their epilepsy."

courtesy cameron boyce foundation
Cameron Boyce. courtesy cameron boyce foundation

In carrying on their son's legacy, the parents, along with their dedicated TCBF board members, have launched a special campaign each May to coincide with Cameron's birthday.

However, because of the ongoing pandemic, all of their previous efforts had to be virtual — until now.

This year, TCBF will be hosting the immersive gala at SOHO Warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. The event is expected to be attended by dozens of Cameron's closest friends and colleagues, including his Descendants costars Sofia Carson and Dove Cameron, friend Nolan Gould, Jessie costars Debby Ryan and Peyton List, and Descendants director Kenny Ortega, among others.

Additionally, the event will include an emotional performance byAlvin Ailey dancer Meagan King. King's dance will be performed to an original song by singer-songwriter Hailey Knox, who adapted it from a poem written by Libby for Cameron. Comedian Maz Jobrani is also expected to perform at the gala, which will be hosted by actress Miranda May.

"I think it speaks to Cameron as a person," Libby says of the support from her son's loved ones. "Everybody that Cameron touched or came across, they never leave him. They stay with him to the end, especially his fans... It's just a testament to Cameron's aura and his spirit."

Victor and Libby Boyce credit Larry Hirshowitz
Victor and Libby Boyce. Larry Hirshowitz

Though Cameron was all about giving back, Victor and Libby admit their son would probably have mixed emotions knowing a gala was being held in his honor.

"It's definitely something I'm sure he would be proud of. I can't imagine that he would not rather be here with us though," says Victor. "I think he would expect us to do this, honestly."

"He'd be embarrassed that this attention is given to him at all because he was such a giver," adds Libby. "He wasn't somebody who wanted to be in the spotlight... It was just what he did, and he didn't want that to be anything more than just something he felt passionate about."

courtesy cameron boyce foundation
Cameron Boyce with BooBoo Stewart. courtesy cameron boyce foundation

With the three-year anniversary of Cameron's death approaching, Libby and Victor say their work with TCBF has also helped them cope with their grief.

"It does help with the grieving. It doesn't take it away, but it helps us put our energy somewhere," explains Libby. "I can't tell you how many epileptic folks that we have met and talked to who just are so alone and so lost... and talking about all of these issues, this is something that we need to do because it has a huge impact on this earth."

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Cameron BOyce
Cameron Boyce. David Mendez/Young Hollywood/Getty Images

"It's very difficult, but what else can we do? We can't undo his passing," says Victor. "Because of that, we need to move forward. We need to push the needle forward. We need to hopefully, make sure this type of thing doesn't happen to anybody else. We think it's possible with enough research, with enough exposure and time and dedication."

"That's the position that I'm in. This is a job that I never wanted, obviously. But since I'm here, we might as well make the most of it because Cameron wouldn't have it any other way," he adds. "It starts with Cameron, and, we need this to be bigger than Cameron because it affects so many people. It devastated our lives, but we're not gone. We're trying to recover, rebuild, and keep moving forward."

Tickets for Cam For A Cause: A Fundraiser for The Cameron Boyce Foundation To End Epilepsy are on sale now. More information can be found on TCBF's website.

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