Miguel Cervantes experienced his dream come true being cast as the leading actor in the Chicago production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” As boundless as the actor’s joy was in earning the most plum and pithy role in all of the theatre in recent memory, that delight was balanced by a heartrending burden. He and wife, Kelly, were still celebrating the joy of being parents to their beautiful daughter, Adelaide when she was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Even after centuries of struggles through life for those affected with the condition, and decades of research, epilepsy still baffles many in the medical community, and its debilitating symptoms can rob the simplest gifts of life from families.

Miguel Cervantes knew he had a virtual army of support right beside him every night, so the star marshaled the strength of voices in his cast to create a song and a movement for the cause of epilepsy research.

The buoyant and versatile singer, actor, and devoted father dropped by “Today” on July 20 to talk about his loving journey with his family, and the meaning behind the initiative.

Still a dream

Miguel Cervantes still marvels as he says “I can't believe it's me who gets to say these words, and who gets to sing these songs that so many kids know.” The leading man points to his name on a wooden cast roster almost as if he believes it is a fairytale, despite endless performances of the Windy City rendition of the Tony-sweeping musical.

While her dad was in auditions for “Hamilton,” his beautiful seven-month-old girl suffered her first seizure. Emergency room visits would be the first environment where the new parents would hear epilepsy as a probable diagnosis. On the day that Miguel Cervantes won his starring role, his daughter was undergoing a spinal tap.

Wife, Kelly, is still in awe of how her husband made it through the auditions without crumbling. Perhaps it was the devoted heart of a dad determined to be there for his beautiful baby girl that called to Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda cast Miguel Cervantes without question. “He's just such a light,” gushes the “Hamilton” creator referring to Cervantes.

The family still feels blessed to be living a dream amid such hurdles, and the relocation to Chicago meant they would be starting over with new hospitals and doctors. One in 26 is diagnosed with epilepsy every day in the US. Only about 10% of children with infantile spasms like Adelaide go on to have normal cognitive development, but treatments to mediate the duration and intensity of seizures are being developed and tested every day.

Hope for the future

It didn't take long for Miguel and Kelly to join forces with CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, in Chicago, and Miguel wanted to do much more than attending meetings and supporting bake sales, and he knew he had the platform to reach out.

Cervantes wants to know his daughter is on the same tender level as her older brother, Jackson, and be able to introduce her to the world. Kelly's dream is that she can walk, talk, and live daily life, free of the torment from seizures. There has been no firm diagnosis as to Adelaide’s particular epilepsy, so there is no definite prognosis, either. Despite the uncertainty, the family stays committed to the future, for themselves and their daughter.

Lifting a song

Miguel Cervantes penned his own song, “Til the Calm Comes,” as a hopeful anthem for his daughter, and his “Hamilton” cast mates created a heavenly chorus in singing in support of CURE and the baby so loved as part of their adopted family now.

The days do become difficult at times, but this mom and dad are undaunted, “People talk about milestones,” he says of other parents with babies. “We are happy with inch-stones. We'll take our inch-stones. When she smiles at me, that’s all I need.”

Let's hope that a storm of support surges for “Til the Calm Comes,” its composer, and this brave family.

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