Hamilton star brings awareness to CURE
by Katie Arvia
MUNSTER, Ind. (April 3, 2019) – On March 31, Theatre at the Center closed an unprecedented seven-week run of Million Dollar Quartet. The final performance was attended by a nearly sold-out crowd, as well as two very special guests: Miguel Cervantes, of Hamilton fame, and Kelly Cervantes, board member of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). They were there as ambassadors on behalf of CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, a role they took on after their daughter, Adelaide, was diagnosed with epilepsy at just seven months after her birth.
Theatre at the Center had sold a limited number of “Meet and Greet” tickets for theater-goers who wanted the opportunity to meet Miguel Cervantes. The additional $50 ticket included an autographed playbill and photo op. All “Meet and Greet” proceeds were donated in entirety to CURE, along with $5 from each single day ticket sale on performance day.
Finding a CURE
CURE was founded in 1998 by a group of parents of children affected by epilepsy. Since its inception, CURE has raised over $60 million to help find a cure for epilepsy.
Miguel and Kelly partnered with CURE in 2016 after their daughter, Adelaide, was diagnosed with epilepsy. Around the same time Adelaide was diagnosed, Miguel was cast as the title role in the Chicago production of Hamilton.
“The word epilepsy came rushing into our lives very, very abruptly and shockingly,” Miguel said. “You can imagine the weird juxtaposition of emotions that were going on in my life at that time.”
When Miguel was cast in the musical, the family was living in New Jersey. This new role meant leaving the east coast and moving to Chicago. In the past, Kelly had worked with CURE in their New York office; fortunately, CURE’s headquarters is in Chicago, allowing Kelly to continue working with the organization.
“CURE has become an incredibly important organization in our lives,” Kelly said.
“It is a chronic journey for us; it affects every single day of our lives,” Kelly explained. “On that journey, sometimes it can be very difficult to find hope. …But one thing that does give me hope is CURE, because they are the number one organization out there that is raising money specifically for epilepsy research.”
Adelaide, who is now three, functions more like a newborn. The family often spends many nights in the hospital with Adelaide.
Although the Cervantes family certainly has a lot to juggle, Miguel says he has no plans to slow down.
“I’m still enjoying every second [of Hamilton] and will continue to do so as long as I can, because it really is that amazing,” he said.
Not only does he have fun playing the role, Miguel says he also recognizes the amazing opportunity that Hamilton has afforded him and his family: “We’ve been able to use this Hamilton experience and the notoriety—the ‘soapbox’—they’ve given me to join up with CURE. …We are very, very active with everything that they do in the epilepsy community.”
Miguel and Kelly have also partnered with Fairgrounds Coffee to create Adelaide’s Blend of coffee. 25% of sales from each bag of coffee will benefit CURE, paving the way toward finding new epilepsy treatments. While there is currently no cure for epilepsy, Miguel, Kelly, and CURE are working toward achieving that goal.
The fight against epilepsy
“I would love to see a day where there’s a parent who receives an epilepsy diagnosis from a doctor, and, with that diagnosis, comes a treatment for a cure,” Kelly said. “CURE is out there; they are fighting for the 1 in 26 people who will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime.”
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Miguel said. “We have taken up this banner, and I get to hold Hamilton on one side and epilepsy on the other side and wave both flags at the same time.”
To learn more about CURE, visit cureepilepsy.org. Adelaide’s Blend can be found at any Fairgrounds Coffee or Mariano’s location throughout Chicagoland.