A year has passed since Cameron Boyce tragically died in June 2019, and his parents say there’s “not a painless day that goes by.”
But Libby and Victor Boyce tell E! News that they have managed to “find meaning” in the loss of their son, who found fame on the Disney Channel. Since his sudden death from epilepsy last year, the duo has worked tirelessly to get the Cameron Boyce Foundation up and running, as they believe Cameron would’ve wanted them to.
According to the organization’s website, they strive to cure epilepsy and SUDEP, the condition that caused Cameron’s death; eradicate gun violence; and positively contribute to causes that were near and dear to the 20-year-old’s heart.
With their first year without Cameron behind them, the parents tell E! News they’re looking ahead to the future with a strengthened sense of purpose. To learn of what they had to say of their plans for the foundation and how they’re feeling, read the Q&A below.
Cameron Boyce: Life in Pictures
E!: The one year anniversary of the foundation is coming up and people may not know about all of the work that you’ve done in the past year. Can you tell us what the foundation is, what you’ve been able to accomplish, as well as what you’re hoping to do as you look on this anniversary?
VB: Well, the foundation started very quickly after Cameron passed. It was really, honestly, a reaction to a devastating loss; to do something, or to carry on what he was going to do. It was something that we felt was necessary and we thought Cameron would want us to do, and also something to give us purpose and try and find meaning in his loss, because it was just so horrible and really horrible to this day. It kind of gives us purpose and we want to help other families and other people and just be positive. You know, our son is all about positivity and charity, and he was never one to be selfish. And, it’s funny because I am nothing like that, like Cameron. So, I’m not sure where he got that from, but it’s been cathartic for me to try and to be a better person and try to fill his shoes, which I can never do, but, you know, that was the initial idea.
LB: In the past year, we’ve done a lot… We realized that Cameron passed from epilepsy—he passed from something called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP)—and that we needed to ensure his death was not in vain. And that we would put all we can with our resources and the platform that we have, with our voice, to getting research on epilepsy out there, so we can do our part in terms of ending epilepsy and ending SUDEP. That is pretty much at the core of the Cameron Boyce Foundation.
We’ve developed a couple of partnerships. One is with the Epilepsy Foundation, we started a campaign, and we have a PSA that’s out there that we did with Cameron’s best friends, trying to really get the education and knowledge out there to do that, because epilepsy is kind of something that is pushed under the rug.
Our next big move is to actually fund a research effort, specifically for students and young researchers who are trying to break into the research arena of epilepsy, because we want to make sure that going forward, there are young researchers in this field.
E!: You were saying that people may not really be familiar with SUDEP. Are there any things that people can be aware of, any signs to look out for?
VB: Cameron was 100 percent healthy. There was nothing wrong with Cameron that you could see or feel, or even measure. The type of epilepsy that he had, it wasn’t something that you could even do a scan and find it. It’s hard to answer it because it’s a very broad area that is not easy to pin down. It’s not easy to identify.
E!: How do you want fans to remember Cameron’s legacy and what do you hope that they can learn from the foundation?
LB: Well, I hope they remember his love and remember Cameron in positive ways. To see how he’s impacted people, somehow, in such a way that was very, very intense. I mean, just being proud of him. Obviously we miss him terribly and there is not a painless day that goes by for us, and we will be in pain forever. But to think that, you know, he left his mark on young people and encouraged them to speak their truth and to do whatever they can to help the world and be charitable and be kind, and all those things. I mean, that’s what he was all about.
E!: Cameron had a couple projects that were in the works. Are you looking forward to seeing those?
LB: He was really excited about doing other work. I mean, that’s, for us, what’s so sad about it. He was just really, like really, getting into his groove and being more creative than ever. So we’re looking forward to those things getting released and honoring him in every way we can in terms of those projects.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.