I don’t even know where to start talking about Cameron Boyce. If you haven’t heard, Cameron Boyce was a very talented Disney Channel star who starred in Jessie, The Descendants, and the Grown Ups movies.
I recently found out that he had passed away from epilepsy. It wasn’t public knowledge that he had been diagnosed before – which is understandable, given that he had a high-pressure career and was in the spotlight so often. Epilepsy, or any other medical matter, can be the most personal thing in someone’s life. It’s heartbreaking, in itself, that he felt that he couldn’t share that with his fans.
Cameron was 20 years old. He had a seizure in his sleep and didn’t wake up. 1.16 in 1,000 people with epilepsy die from SUDEP, which means Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. It’s, put simply, when a person dies from having a seizure for no other known cause. There are many other ways that someone can die from epilepsy: drowning, injury, car accidents, etc. SUDEP is a whole different animal: it can occur at any time, at any location, to any person with epilepsy.
You can probably imagine that his passing would shake up someone with epilepsy. I had always known the statistics of SUDEP, but had never really heard of it happening, especially to someone so close to my age. The reality of it has become so much more real these past few days, and I think it stings just a little bit more because it happened on my birthday. It was the last thing I was expecting, and I can imagine it has hit so many other people in the epilepsy community just as hard or even harder, especially fans of his. It’s unimaginable to even think about what his parents must be feeling right now.
As if this isn’t bad enough, young children have taken it to a whole new level. I can’t believe I’m even writing these words right now, because it actually makes me feel sick. It’s been brought to my attention that 3 high schoolers started something called the “Cameron Boyce Challenge”, in which they made a video of themselves pretending to have a seizure and dying. Many other young people followed, and it actually became something multiple people did. As if it’s a joke. There have been so many stupid challenges: the Tide Pod challenge, the cinnamon challenge, I could go on all day. I genuinely didn’t think it would be possible to do worse than swallowing deathly chemicals that are supposed to be used as laundry detergent, but they have done it again. Mocking someone for actually dying.
I don’t know how anyone could think it would actually be okay to do something like that, bias aside. This has gone as far as to outrage thousands of people, many of which haven’t been affected personally by epilepsy. It baffles me that this thought even crossed anyone’s mind, let alone was it executed. I am sick of tired of people thinking everything is a joke. This brings me right back to my first seizure, when I was informed upon waking up that students were taking videos of me while I was seizing. I just can’t understand that line of thought. Maybe it looks funny? I guess? When describing what a seizure looks like, many people describe it as the person looking like they’re possessed. To some people, it’s all fun and games I guess.
As I’m writing this, I’m looking through the internet to find more details on how people have reacted to this epidemic of stupidity, and just found some more videos of people doing another fun and exciting version of the Cameron Boyce Challenge: the ouija board version! I’m glad his death is a big joke to these young kids.
My epilepsy has been something that I’ve been able to get off my mind lately, but this past week has definitely been weird. Definitely very emotional and heartbreaking. It’s really a reality check of the dangers of epilepsy, and I know it has affected a few of my loved ones as well.
I’ve kind of been a little bit cooped up in my bed lately. But with Sunday being the day I’m officially 6 months seizure-free, it’s time to get up and learn my lesson from all of it.
Life is short. Do everything you can to make it longer. And don’t take even one minute for granted.