My South Side Sox colleague, Dante Jones, did an excellent job covering the news yesterday that White Sox closer, Liam Hendriks, has Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He conveyed all the human emotions professionally and eloquently. Thank you, Dante, for putting what we all felt at the moment into words.
It’s often easy to place famous people on pedestals and lose touch with the fact that they are humans first and foremost. Damar Hamlin was a reminder to sports fans of that mere days ago, and now White Sox fans have been hit very close to home with that reality, too.
Well wishes for Liam and his wife Kristi started pouring in after Liam’s announcement on social media. Messages came from every corner of the Earth, including almost all MLB teams. It reminded me all that is good in humanity, in a world where that fact is oftentimes easy to forget.
Bigger than baseball.— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) January 9, 2023
We are with you, Liam. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/g1535G7BBZ
Kristi updated her Instagram on Monday with a message of thanks and gratitude for all of the support they have received: “Words cannot adequately express the immense outpouring of love we have felt in the last 12 hours. Every single text, DM, mention, and phone call has been appreciated beyond belief. We are so grateful for your support and are so humbled by it all. I truly cannot thank you all enough for loving my husband so much.”
In times of human struggles, people are often at a loss for what to do, and after the shock wears off, an instinct in most of us to help kicks in. I have a close friend whose dad recently passed, and all you want to do is something, anything, to help ease their pain. You want them to know that they are important to you, and that you care about them.
After hearing the news, I found myself thinking about Liam and Kristi and the journey ahead of them, a journey that’s all too familiar for so many people. It isn’t easy to know how to support someone when they face adversity like a cancer diagnosis. However, in Liam’s situation, as fans, we can show him we care by donating to or volunteering for any of the charities that he and Kristi hold close.
It is well-known by many involved in MLB that charitable work in the community is of critical importance to Liam and Kristi. Quickly after they arrived in Chicago, they started the South Slydah Society to donate meals from small, family-owned businesses to essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Hendrikses love animals and work tirelessly to encourage adoptions, fight to end abuse, and personally foster pets. Other causes they dearly support include health care, human rights, and first responders.
Although he hasn’t yet won it, Liam has been nominated for MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award four times. The annual honor recognizes a major league player who best epitomizes the characteristics of Clemente through his commitment to the community and helping others. The list of organizations that the Hendrikses have supported through the years is impressively long and diverse in its reach. There is truly something for everyone.
From donating nearly 1,400 meals from dozens of family-owned small businesses, to planning 22 community events or in-person visits, the South Slydah Society has made remarkable contributions to those in need of a helping hand.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 26, 2022
Here is a breakdown of a few places you can support with a donation or engage with as a volunteer:
Remember Me Thursday
Players for Pits
One Tail at a Time
Mission K9 Rescue
Center on Halsted
La Rabida Children’s Hospital
Howard Brown Health
If there’s one thing fans definitively know about Liam is that he is a badass. Cancer, without question, picked the wrong guy. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the bump soon. Kick cancer’s butt, Liam!
If you would like, share your cancer recovery/remembrance stories in our comments. #fightcancer #cancerwarriors