Girl with epilepsy performs to beat the disease

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Amber Mackenzie takes the fight against epilepsy by performing (KTRK)

A young epilepsy patient in Colorado is using her singing chops to battle the disease.

The 11-year-old girl recorded an album to raise awareness about the condition.

Amber Mackenzie dreams of one day singing on a Broadway stage, but for now she uses this stage in her mom's talent studio to do the thing she loves most.

The thing that makes her feel safe.

Unlike most girls Amber's age, Amber suffers from a disorder that can strike at any moment

"I have grand mal seizures," Mackenzie says.

Amber has epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures. It all started when she was six months old.

Her mother Teresa still remembers her baby girl's first seizure.

"We were in the middle of dance recital. We were backstage. And it scared us," says Teresa Putnam. "Watching your child turn blue and not breathing. And there was nothing I could do."

Teresa says it would be the first of many terrifying moments to come.

"She has seizures almost every day," Putnam says. "Sometimes she will have 30 or 40 in a night."

Teresa lives with the constant fear that every seizure could be Amber's last.

"They are all terrifying," Putnam says. "You never get used to it."

Amber says having epilepsy is different from being a normal kid. She can't go to a regular school, and does an online program instead.

She also can't do things like gymnastics or ride a bike.

"A 10-second freeze while riding a bike could be detrimental," says Putnam. "Riding a horse. Or swimming, that kind of thing. I just have to watch her carefully."

"Sometimes I want to be a normal kid," Mackenzie says.

But this 11-year-old chooses to focus on something more powerful that any disorder.
On her toughest of days, Amber turns to her passion: performing.

At the family's studio, her mother can watch over her, and as long as Amber is careful, dancing, acting or signing shouldn't trigger a seizure.

And now Amber is turning that passion into purpose. She recently recorded an album of inspirational songs.

"I want them to feel happy," Mackenzie says.

She also wants to raise awareness about epilepsy and raise money for research.

"It's a common disease and so many people suffer from it, and there is no cure," Putnam says.

Finding a cure is Teresa's ultimate dream, but in the meantime she takes comfort in watching Amber reach for hers.

Amber's album is titled "Because I Can."

It's already available on her website, ahead of its official release on April 20th.
Related Topics:
societyteenagerssingingmusicdisabilityu.s. & worldentertainmentColorado
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