This evening, Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks announced that he has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma via his Instagram page.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn responded, in his own statement, released by the club: “Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player. 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 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.
“We do not expect to have any updates on Liam’s playing status prior to Opening Day at the very earliest.”
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects white blood cells, and thus the immune system. There are a variety of treatments available, ranging from benign observation to chemotherapy. The details of Hendriks’ diagnosis and prognosis remain private, but it is safe to assume that such an engaging figure as Hendriks will seek support from the public and make his fight against the disease visible, as appropriate.
Truly, the baseball part of all of this does not matter at all. If he was allowed to, Liam would be throwing in the ninth inning on Opening Day, cancer be damned, because Liam is a fighter.
Liam Hendriks is someone who will not give up. He will fight cancer with the same passion that he has on the mound, and the same energy that he has when pushing for LGBT rights.
All of us know someone who has been affected by cancer. My sister had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from when she was 17 until after her 19th birthday, and she always said that holding me when I was a baby gave her the energy to keep fighting. Several of my closest friends have fought and beaten cancer. I just hope that everyone understands that this is an extremely difficult thing to deal with, and gives Liam and his family the peace and privacy that they deserve.