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Biloxi Shuckers to honor children with disabilities on Friday night

Keesler Federal Credit Union is set to get naming rights to the stadium formerly known as MGM Park (Photo courtesy of the Biloxi Shuckers)

The Biloxi Shuckers will be hosting “Buddy Cruise Night” on Friday to highlight children with disabilities.

Friday’s game against the Tennessee Smokies will open with a rendition of the national anthem sung by Luke Putnam, a Pass Christian native who has autism. First pitch will be thrown by Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society self-advocate Patrick McIlwain.

The Double-A team will come out in style with specially-designed jerseys that represent children who have all kinds of disabilities. The jerseys are currently up for auction with prices starting at $100. Bidding for the stylish team gear will end at the conclusion of the game.

“We have designed a jersey that will be worn by all of the players We have 35 jerseys and they are representative of children with different disabilities,” Mika Hartman, who organized the event, told SuperTalk Mississippi News. “We are super excited that we have these. It’s not often that children with disabilities get representation. Here we’ve put them on the front and back of the Shuckers’ jerseys.”

Friday’s game will be followed by a fireworks show. Hartman is encouraging everybody on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to come out and celebrate the state’s toughest children.

Buddy Cruise is a nonprofit charity that promotes awareness, advocacy, and inclusion for individuals with special needs by giving families the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely getaway with others who have family members with disabilities.

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