Fresno State marching band member doesn't let her disability keep her off the field

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State's football games would be nothing without their marching band.

The sights and sounds of pregame festivities at Bulldog Stadium is a spectacle.

The Fresno State marching band plays an on-field performance and the school's skydiving club makes a grand entrance.

"It's been an amazing experience coming into this program. The Fresno State is overall very inclusive and welcoming, I've made friendships here and I love it," said Fresno State marching band member Viviana Reyes. "When I was in sixth grade, I chose the clarinet, mostly because my friend did so I was like cool we'll have something to do together. I chose Clarinet, I remember the first week I had such a hard time, I can't get a sound of it. "

Reyes transferred to Fresno State this year from Bakersfield College. She chose the university because of its deaf studies program and wanted to be a part of the Bulldog marching band. Although Viviana uses a wheelchair that didn't stop her from fulfilling her dream of playing on game day.

"I always have to ask is there accessibility? How am I going to get around? I try not to focus on I can't do this more what can I do in this situation," said Viviana.

The marching band traveled with the football team to USC for the opening game of the season. The accessibility at the Coliseum presented a challenge for Viviana.

Drum Major Blain Haskin took notice and made sure she was able to participate.

"When we got to the USC game we were in our new uniforms and the stairs were massive, there were a lot of them," explained Haskin. "So I went up to her and I was like hey I want you as comfortable as possible but I want you with us, you're a part of this band, you need to be up there in the stands. Can we pick up the wheelchair? Can we pick you up whatever you're comfortable with I didn't want to cross any boundaries. I swooped her up, carried her up the stairs and she was able to be with us the whole game. Halftime came and I carried her back down and she was on the field with us."

That's where their friendship started, Viviana says being able to play at the football games is one of her favorite parts about being in the marching band.

"I think that's a beautiful thing about being in this program is the love, care, and support you feel as soon as you join. You're immediately a large family of 240, 260 people and you can' t get that anywhere else," said. Haskin.

"There was this mentor I had, and she would always say there's no can't in your vocabulary, you can do it," explained Viviana. "That really stuck with me till now, the fact that I can do whatever I set my mind to."
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