HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – A young Colorado singer is using her voice to help save lives.
Fifteen-year-old Amber Mackenzie has been singing, dancing and acting since she was a toddler. She loves musical theater, has recorded her own album and is even in the middle of a concert tour to share her music.
“I really want to help other kids and adults with the same things I have,” Amber told FOX31.
She was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just a baby. While her grand mal seizures are mostly under control with the help of CBD oil, she still experiences smaller seizures every night while she’s asleep.
“I have an emfit monitor under my bed in case I have a convulsive seizure. I have on that I put on my finger and then I also have a baby monitor,” she said.
According to her mother, Teresa, the nightly seizures usually last three to four minutes. She must constantly monitor her daughter while she is having a seizure. If Amber’s seizure doesn’t end quickly, her mom has to dial 911 or administer emergency medication.
“People are like wait, you’re always with your mom 24/7? You have a baby monitor? You sleep with all these monitors? And I’m like, yes,” Amber said. “I have little to no privacy.”
While the constant monitoring may seem burdensome to some, the teen says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If I didn’t have my monitors, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” she said.
Due to the type of seizures she experiences, Amber is at risk for “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy”, also known as SUDEP.
SUDEP is likely what caused the death of 20-year-old Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, who had a fatal seizure in his sleep over the weekend.
“It was really close to home,” Amber said of his passing.
Amber and her family started a foundation called “Performers with Purpose”. She performs donation-based concerts to raise money to purchase monitors for others with epilepsy and to give back to organizations that have helped her.
Now, she says her mission is more important than ever in light of Boyce’s death.
“I’m actually more determined to spread epilepsy awareness,” Amber said. “He’s actually made me want to strive to be a better person from hearing his story because when I’m gone, I really want to make a difference.”
Amber Mackenzie will be performing a benefit concert for epilepsy awareness in honor of Cameron Bryce at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Spotlight Performing Arts Center, 6328 E County Line Rd. #102, Littleton.
All proceeds from the show will be used to purchase monitors for epilepsy patients.