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Miguel Cervantes and family speak to Million Dollar Quartet crowd

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.

Miguel Cervantes spoke to theater-goers who had purchased “Meet and Greet” tickets. The price of the ticket was donated to CURE. (Photo: Katie Arvia)
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.

Journeying together

“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.”

The Cervantes family—Miguel, Kelly, and their children—are working with CURE to raise funds for epilepsy research. Adelaide (8 months old in this photo) was born with epilepsy. (Photo provided)

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.”

Adelaide’s Blend

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 Adelaide’s Blend can be found at any Fairgrounds Coffee or Mariano’s location throughout Chicagoland.

Katie Arvia
Katie Arvia
Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").