This evening, Liam Hendriks announced on his Instagram account that he will be undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma starting on Monday.
The full text from Hendriks’ post:
“As a professional athlete, I have always been mindful to try to 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 right 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.”
The White Sox followed the announcement with a statement from Rick Hahn:
“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.”
I’ll have a post at some point about the potential ramifications of his absence, but this news requires a little time to absorb before spinning it forward. For the time being, here’s wishing the best of luck to Liam Hendriks and his family for a full recovery.
Man wish him the best through all of this, obviously baseball takes the back seat here.
This sort of news transcends baseball. I wish the best for Liam’s recovery, and his family.
He’s a legit good dude, hoping for the best outcome.
Ugh, this is devastating. Wishing him a speedy return to health for a truly good guy.
This is awful. Liam really seems like one of the good guys too, and he’s become one of my favorite Sox players through his thoughtful interviews and quirkiness (i.e. doing Legos in the clubhouse). The baseball aspects don’t matter tonight. I’m hoping the best for his health for him and his family.
Just crazy news. Speechless. Best to Liam and his family.
One of my kid’s favorite players, thanks to his advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. Good luck, Liam!
Hoping and praying for a speedy recovery, just devastating news for Liam and his family…. obviously his health comes first and baseball is a distant after thought but from the sox side of things a team strength just became a question mark for a team with little to no room for things not to align properly.
You can only hope they caught it early in a routine exam or something and that they did not have reason/symptoms to be looking for it. I know early detection makes a big difference.
Yea, I wasnt too familiar with the diagnosis so I have been googling some stuff…. but I wonder if anyone on this board has dealt with it and can give us some more insight.
I have NHL. Follicular, B-cell, indolent. I was stage 4 when it was found (got into my bone marrow). Did 6 rounds of chemo, I responded well, I’m 15 years out.
Non-Hodgkins in not curable. Hodgkins is. NHL is treated like a chronic condition. You go in for regular visits, watch for symptoms (night sweats, weight loss, enduring symptoms of cold or flu). Mine came back in 2020 as a tumor on my lacrimal gland in my eye. I did radiation, and responded to it well.
There are many different kinds of Non-Hodgkins, and I’m not an expert. My experience is that mine is slow-growth, so while I still have ‘cancer’, it could take another 10 years for something to manifest. My radiologist told me I’ll most likely die of something else.
The “good kind/bad kind” part is that the treatment for NHL is not as taxing as the treatment for Hodgkins. It’s better to get Hodgkins if you’re younger. You’re stronger to endure the treatment, and you can be cured. If you’re older, the treatment is somewhat milder, and you have less of your life to deal with it (only because you’re older).
I believe Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo have both dealt with NHL, and have both come back to dominate.
Thanks for sharing this. Hope your recovery/treatment continues to go well!
Thank you very much.
In talking to my radiologist, I asked him if they’ve made any headway on the “uncurable” aspect of NHL. He sighed, and told me, “In all honesty, it’s such a low-grade cancer, research money gets funneled to more aggressive strains.”
Sharing the same sentiments as everyone. I hope nothing but a full recovery. Andres “big cat” Galarraga had this cancer, and he was able to battle it thru, and return back to baseball after 1 year of treatment. Hopefully, the same happens with Liam, and he will be back pitching.
Didn’t Mario Lemieux or some hockey great have it, as well?
I know Liam will approach his treatment and recovery with a singular ferocity. I hope that stands him in good stead.
I did a little sleuthing…
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is worse than Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 70+% 5-year survival rate depending on what stage it is in and other factors.
Lemieux had Hodgkin’s. John Lester, Galarraga, and golfer Paul Azinger all had non-Hodgkin’s and came back to have professional success.
The odds of Hendriks surviving are favorable, though most of you probably have considerably better odds of living out the next 5 years and beyond.
For some perspective on this, our first child was born with Down Syndrome. We had a 1 in 700 chance of having a child with Down’s, a little higher actually because of my wife’s age. Then, when, we contemplated having another child, the odds were more like 1 in 100. My wife was now a little older, which affected the chances, and we had proven we could have a child with Down Syndrome. That was a huge factor in whether we could do it again. Our families cautioned against getting pregnant, but we thought anything we could win 99 out of 100 times was worth signing up for.
As you might imagine, we forged ahead. Our son was born 2 years after his sister. He learned patience and tolerance and perspective and unconditional love from his sister. He has grown up to be one of the finest people I know. My 2 children are absolutely the lights of my life.
Bottom line, 73% survival rate is awful compared to the general population, and we have every reason to be concerned, but 73% is still stacked in his favor. Add in his conditioning and his attitude and his access to the best care, and I like Liam’s chances.
I join everyone is praying for Liam to have a full recovery.
Not related to Liam’s situation but I think this is a funny story. My youngest child was a pleasant surprise for me and my wife after we thought we were done having children. The due date was a couple days before my wife’s 42nd birthday. When discussing some of the risks of being an older woman giving birth with us, a nurse kept saying things like “As a 41-year-old, your risk of this or that is such-and-such percent.” My wife asked what the risk was for a 42-year-old and the nurse replied by asking “Why do you want to know? You’ll only be 41.” The nurse never came around to telling us the risk for a 42-year-old or letting us see the chart she was looking at so we went home and googled.
One caution about those statistics is variance; “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” refers to a category of blood cancers. Some of these cancers respond very well to treatment with much more favorable ranges of outcomes than indicated by those numbers.
Then there are ones like Mantle Cell Lymphoma. That’s the one that killed my uncle. It killed him in less than two years despite treatment from world-class medical teams such as the ones who work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (baseball link – here’s the SABR biography of Hutch).
I should add that MCL is pretty rare. My dear hope is that Liam Hendriks has one of the less aggressive of these cancers, and that it was caught early. Regardless, this diagnosis is a hell of a blow to the young man and his family, and I hope they have a support network in place for everything ranging from emotional well-being to not having to worry about making dinner for the kids tonight.
One thing worth considering upon hearing this horrible news is to sign up to donate stem cells or bone marrow. Chances are you will never be called, but you just might be someone’s – maybe Liam Hendriks, maybe one of the patients down the hall from him today – best chance to fight against these goddamned diseases.
You are absolutely correct, there are a range of outcomes, some of them unspeakably bad, based on the exact diagnosis. In the absence of a specific diagnosis, I was speaking in generalized terms. His chances of recovery are probably good.
And I bet his support system is extensive. People who spread goodness usually find it returned many times over. I hope that’s the case for Liam and his family.
Your call to donate is appreciated.
Thanks for the link to donate. In that link it says that you have to be under 61 years old to be considered as a donor.
Liam has at least a couple things going for him that should make his chances of recovery (and survival) hopefully much greater than the average person. He’s bull strong, fit dude, which certainly helps. He’s got millions, and people with that kind of money certainly have access to better doctors, information, and care than the average person. I would think unless they caught it late, that there’s an excellent chance he will play again with a pretty good list of guys who had it and came back with great success.
Of course there’s real reason to be concerned, but also reasons to be hopeful, which hopefully should win out. Hopefully not too terrible and painful a treatment process that he has to go through. And on a much less important note, a real blow to the Sox season, that’s for sure.
A couple things about survival rate data. Research on the newest generations of chemo drugs is limited, so if we’re 25-30 years out of Rituxin being widely used, we only have that amount of time as a best case, not 60 years, or whatnot.
And the data includes people who died in treatment, or soon afterwards. As I talked to my oncologist about my numbers and odds, if you get to 3 years out, your chances of making 5 years increase. If you make it to 5, 10 looks better, and so on.
I have a very slow growth NHL. It’s treated, now, as a chronic condition, with regular checkups. A tumor might not even spark treatment, depending on where it is. They might just monitor it to see where it goes.
All your posts today are very helpful. Thanks. And good luck!
Thanks. Thank you for your posts, as well.
Only the fathers of children that say their fathers are the lights of their life can say this.
Here’s a good resource if you’re interested in learning about it.