Trumpeter overcomes challenges to march in parade

Kirby Blackwelder

Kirby Blackwelder, a sophomore environmental health major from Charlotte who plays trumpet in the band, has mild cerebral palsy, which weakens the muscles on her left side leaving them tight. To prepare for the 5-and-a-half mile parade, Blackwelder increased and expanded her stretching routine.

“I was born 15 weeks premature and weighed one pound and 11 ounces. As a result, I have mild cerebral palsy,” said Blackwelder. “While in marching band, I have had a few more aches and pains than most people do but that has never stopped me from loving marching band.”

“Last year, I was not sure I was going to make it through the entire season. It was much more intense than I was used to in high school (South Mecklenburg High School), but because of the challenge it made every football game and every performance more special.”

“I am looking forward to being able to say that I was in the Rose Parade – knowing that all of my hard work brought me to Pasadena with the best band.”

Coming Soon to roseparade.wcu.edu: A list of the band members going to the Rose Parade, more features about band members and fans, and a schedule of the band’s trip

8 Comments

  1. Kendall
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    This is so amazing to read! Congrats to Kirby overcoming the challenges set in front of her.. just goes to show how much marching band really means to some people!!

  2. Posted December 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I loved reading this story about Kirby. It reminded me of a quote by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Kirby Blackwelder is simply radiant–day or night. Thanks for sharing your story with us. March on, girlfriend!

  3. Corey
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I love Kirby so much! I have marched with her on multiple occasions and she continues to motivate me to give it my all every time I step on the field.

  4. Nancy
    Posted December 23, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Kirby you are so special. Congratulations on your achievements! I am so proud of you.

  5. Shelly, John, Richard and Ryan
    Posted December 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    We are always so proud of you! Have fun and know that we love you.

  6. Posted December 24, 2010 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Kirby you are so special. Congratulations on your achievements! I am so proud of you.

  7. Eileen Millsaps (Grandie)
    Posted December 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Kirby, PapaGil and I love you very much. Thanks for being so determined. The Rose Bowl parade will be an awesome experience.

  8. Posted December 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Kirby you are so special. Congratulations on your achievements! I am so proud of you.