Liam Hendriks, a closing pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, announced via Instagram on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that starts in white blood cells and affects the lymph system of the body (which is part of the immune system), according to the American Cancer Society.
In his post, he wrote, “As a professional athlete, I have always been mindful to try and use my position in the public eye to the most positive ends possible by shining a light on causes or issues that touch close to home for myself, my wife, and my family. It is in that spirit that I want to share some personal health news I have learned in the past few days and do so on my own terms.
“Recently I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hearing the word ‘Cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year. However, I am resolved to embrace the fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life.
“My treatment begins tomorrow, and I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible. I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates, and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this.”
Hendriks is 33 years old and a 12-year MLB veteran, having played for 5 different teams in his career, including the Minnesota Twins, Kansa City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, and now the Chicago White Sox. He’s been with the White Sox since the start of the 2021 season.
Although this April would mark Hendriks’ third season with the Sox, general manager Rick Hahn is not focusing on whether or not Liam will be ready for Opening Day.
“Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player,” Hahn said in a statement. “I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and Kristi [Liam’s wife] during the coming months.
“Knowing everyone involved, especially Liam, we are optimistic he will pitch again for the White Sox as soon as viable. In the meantime, we all will do everything in our power to support our teammate and his family as they face this challenge, while also respecting their privacy.”
Liam has striven beyond just being an athlete while playing in Chicago. According to MLB.com, Liam and his wife Kristi made it a point during his free agency process to find a team and community where they’d be able to give back.
“On all of the Zoom meetings we had with all of the teams we met with, we said it’s extremely important for us to be able to immerse ourselves in the community,” Kristi said in an interview back, in 2021. “We find the best way is by volunteering and giving back.
“We like to bring attention to things that are happening in the community via Liam’s platform. If we don’t use the platform he is given when he has it, I feel like we totally missed the mark. And for us, it was just very easy.”
Hendriks started the South Slydah Society, which has “donated 1,400 meals from small and minority-owned businesses and has hosted dozens of community events across the city,” according to Block Club Chicago.
This is just one of many ways the Hendriks family has done their part in giving back to the community. As fans, I think we owe it to him to give back the support he’s given so many others in this trying time for his family, friends, and teammates alike.