CHICAGO — White Sox star closer Liam Hendriks is stepping away from the game after being diagnosed with cancer.
Hendriks has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and will start treatment Monday, he announced in an Instagram post.
“Hearing the word ‘cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year,” Hendriks said in a post. “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.”
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma attacks white blood cells. It has a survival rate of more than 70 percent for the first five years after diagnosis, according to The American Cancer Society.
Other baseball players have made major league comebacks after recovering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including former Cubs all-star pitcher and 2016 World Series champion Jon Lester.
Hendriks has been a two-time All-Star and an active community member since joining the Sox in 2021. He’s been a finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to baseball’s most philanthropic player.
Hendriks, a native Australian, 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 the White Sox.
The closer has held watch parties at local children’s hospitals and donated a wheelchair to a Chicago woman living with ALS.
Hendriks routinely buys ballgame tickets for military members, families of people at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Hospital and emergency call center workers, according to the team.
The player’s also been an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, booking a ballpark suite for teens at Howard Brown Health and buying rainbow flags for fans.
Hendriks has been outspoken in the wake of tragedies, making donations to Highland Park first responders after this summer’s mass shooting there and bringing young people who fled conflict in Ukraine to games at Sox Park.
Hendriks’ love of animals has led him to support several local animal welfare groups and make efforts to get dogs adopted.
Hendriks promised fans he’d pitch again.
“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,” he said.
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