While Miguel Cervantes stunned everyone during his Alexander Hamilton audition in Chicago, he couldn’t help but think of his baby girl. She had just been hospitalized for something unknown at the time, reports Chicago Parent. He later learned of his daughter’s epilepsy diagnosis, around the same time as he was cast for the career-changing role. While it was an extremely difficult time for Miguel and his family, he found strength to keep moving forward and using his platform to greater benefit his daughter and any other children with epilepsy.
Miguel’s baby girl, Adelaide, was found to have infantile spasms, a rare form of epilepsy syndrome. The disease can cause severe delays to a patient’s developmental and cognitive growth. Epilepsy is diagnosed in 1 out of 26 Americans, affecting about 150,000 people a year. Adelaide continued to miss normal baby milestones and when she hit 7-months, she had her first seizure. Quickly after that, the diagnosis came.
At this time, the Cervantes family had to move to Chicago, to accomodate Miguel’s performance in Hamilton. While this was a dream come true, Miguel faced struggles as he saw his daughter slowly lose all of the skills she built up as a baby. There were a lot of unknowns for Miguel and his wife, Kelly. Not knowing can sometimes be the hardest part.
Over time, Adelaide has become less responsive and her future is very uncertain. Yet, the Cervantes continue to do everything in their power to care for her and fight for epilepsy awareness.
Referencing the iconic line in the musical, Miguel said “I am not throwing away my shot” at helping his baby girl and bringing about a better life for her and any other’s affected by the disease.
Miguel continued to use his platform to raise funding for epilepsy research, and start campaigns to create more dialogue on the disease. He partnered with Epilepsy Foundation and CURE to promote a social media challenge. While they are unsure if their efforts will directly benefit their baby girl, they can only hope it benefits future epilepsy children.
One day, Miguel would like his little girl to look at him with recognition, as he doesn’t feel they’ve ever truly met.