Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Baseball World Reacts To Liam Hendriks Cancer Diagnosis


Cancer sucks. But if Liam Hendriks attacks cancer with the same tenacity that he attacks hitters, then it doesn’t stand a chance. On Sunday night, Hendriks revealed that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system.

In true Liam Hendriks fashion, he released a statement to announce the news on his terms.

“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.”

The baseball world was quick to rally around him as support from teams across the league came flooding in.

Here are some of the responses via Twitter:

The fan responses have been overwhelming as well. While Hendriks is confident that he can return to the mound at some point, general manager Rick Hahn said that the White Sox don’t expect to have any updates before Opening Day.

The White Sox closer has logged 75 saves during his first two seasons on the South Side. But his impact off the field has surpassed his accomplishments on it. Since arriving in Chicago, he and his wife, Kristi, have also been active in the community.

This has included treating firefighters from all three platoons at Engine 29 near Guaranteed Rate Field to lunch, ordering a catered lunch for the staff and volunteers of St. James Food Pantry, and donating 50 meals to the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, all within the first few months of joining the team. Hendriks also arranged treats, gifts, and a special video message for the nearly 300 patients, family members, and hospital staff at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Jackson Park.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. But after putting all that love into the world, it’s nice to see it being reciprocated for Hendriks. While baseball is an afterthought, there is a road map for Hendriks to return to the mound this season.

Jon Lester was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma during his rookie season in 2006. Lester went through six chemotherapy treatments before being declared cancer-free. Just ten months after beating cancer, Lester was pitching in the World Series.

Trey Mancini spent the 2020 season fighting for his life against stage three colon cancer. He made a triumphant return the following season and hit 21 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles.

Given the precedent that fellow big leaguers have set, there is no reason to believe Hendriks can’t follow in their footsteps. As Hendriks put it,

“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 this fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life.”

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