MURRELLS INLET — Free agent infielder Orlando Hudson, a Darlington native, showed his soft side on Friday.
The two-time MLB All-Star chatted with fans and signed autographs at Jersey Mike’s Subs to support autism awareness during the most recent of his many trips to the Grand Strand over the years. He signed baseballs for $1, and all the proceeds from food purchases at Jersey Mike’s were donated to The Autism Awareness Foundation.
Hudson has his own charity, Curing Autism Through Change and Hope (C.A.T.C.H.), a tax-exempt organization that seeks to provide resources and a support system for youth coping with autism.
“My charity is about giving kids with autism a chance at life,” Hudson said. “Like we have opportunities in life, for them to become adults and do great things that every other human being gets to do instead of being shoved aside and pushed to the corner, not even thought about. They’re humans just like us and we’re raising all kinds of money for them to have a great life like everybody else.”
Hudson, who has been doing charity work for over 10 years, saw firsthand what children with autism have to go through and has a soft spot in his heart for them.
“Just being in high school … I was in high school seeing those kids getting pushed aside, not being treated like humans,” Hudson said of what motivated him to start raising awareness for autism. “People were thinking that they’re toys you can just push away and that wasn’t cool. We’re all God’s creatures and we’re all God’s people. We’re all in God’s hands so I don’t think anyone should be treated any differently.”
C.A.T.C.H. does multiple charity events including basketball games, bowling, proms, skating and more.
“I did all kinds of stuff,” Hudson said. “You name it, I done it. I plan to keep it going, hopefully until the day the good Lord takes me to heaven.
“… I love to see the smile on these kids’ faces,” Hudson added. “The hugs and smiles that the kids give makes me so happy.”
The four-time Gold Glove award winner also visits the Grand Strand on a frequent basis.
“I was born and raised in Darlington, so I’m not going anywhere,” Hudson said. “This is home. South Carolina is home. I got friends that live in [the Myrtle Beach area]. My kids like to come out to the beach and my grandmother has a shop down here. I like the beach a lot, it’s a great area. I’m happy only living 45 minutes from here.”
Hudson is appreciative to everyone who has lended a hand in supporting autism awareness.
“I’d like to thank everyone that’s helped me,” he said. “I have so much support so it’s cool.”
Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.