CHICAGO (CBS) — The star of the Chicago production of “Hamilton” met Monday with hospital employees and patients to help promote epilepsy research.
For Miguel Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago production of “Hamilton,” the quest for a cure for epilepsy is personal. His 2-year-old daughter, Adelaide, suffers from the neurological disorder. She is being treated at UChicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital.
Fans lined up inside the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine on the University of Chicago campus for a chance for a photo with Cervantes, who is encourage people to take the “My Shot At Epilepsy” challenge by taking a photo or video in the “Hamilton pose” – with their arm raised in the air, and their index finger pointing up.“Ready, finger up to the sky. Which one? Either one. One, two three…”
“We’re here at Comer Children’s Hospital to kick off this campaign,” Cervantes said. “We want to do the “My Shot,” one of the iconic songs in Hamilton and it can mean a whole lot of things. For those guys, it was a shot to build a country. Right now I want to talk about taking our shot to put epilepsy into the mainstream, to get it into the forefront of thinking when we talk about neurological diseases.”
Cervantes’ daughter was diagnosed in 2015 when she was only 7-months old.
“In 2015, she was born in October and then at 7-months old, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. At the same time, I was in the audition process for Hamilton,” he recalled. “We found out she was diagnosed with infantile spasms, which is a pretty terrible form of epilepsy. We moved to Chicago in the most amazing time of my life as an actor, but probably the most terrible time of my life as a father.”
“We’ve tried three or four different medicines and none of them have worked. I’ve learned how frustrating and how awful this can be, but I’ve also learned there’s lots of stories of hope and support. There’s a community of families who are struggling with the same thing. There are great outcomes where people are thriving and living great lives, but you learn over time, that it’s going to be a long journey.”
Cervantes wants everyone to share photos with the “My Shot” pose on social media with #MyShotAtEpilepsy and #CureEpilepsy.“To be able to use the Hamilton platform to spread some awareness and do some good is the very, very least I can do for my daughter,” he said.
Cervantes also is urging people to donate to epilepsy research.
“Any amount will do. We’ll take a Washington, we’ll take a Hamilton, we’ll take a Jackson, and a Franklin. I’m totally stealing that joke,” Cervantes said.
Epilepsy affects 3.4 million Americans, 470,000 of them are children. For more information about the “My Shot” campaign or epilepsy, visit myshotatepilepsy.org