The sporting world recognized Liam Hendriks’ remarkable recovery from stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the ESPYs on Wednesday night. The White Sox closer was presented with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, which recognizes a sports figure “who has overcome great obstacles through physical perseverance and determination.”
Hendriks gave a nearly five-minute speech after receiving the award on stage where he thanked his wife Kristi for being his rock, thanked the White Sox for their support throughout his treatment and shared some insights on his challenging journey from his diagnosis to his return to the field.
One of Hendriks’ biggest takeaways was that he couldn’t have made it through his recovery journey on his own.
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“Cancer isn’t something you fight alone,” Hendriks said. “Nobody fights this alone. My care team, family and friends, they encompassed my entire heartbeat. They were my lifeline when I didn’t know if I could overcome this. They are my lifeline as I continue on my journey.”
To that end, Hendriks left fans and viewers with a powerful message.
“If I leave you with anythingー and I can’t stress this enoughー please, reach out to anybody going through something similar to this. Whether it be cancer, whether it be anxiety, whether it be depression, whether it be any number of things. Trust me, you are not annoying, you will not be an annoyance to us. All that matters is that you give us that little bit of a text. That could be the singular moment of us picking up our spirits and being able to advance to the next stage, being able to advance to that next day of treatment, being able to advance past anything we’re going through.
“That one text can be the difference.”
Hendriks revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Just four months later, after immunotherapy and chemotherapy, Hendriks got to announce that he was in remission.
He didn’t need to wait much longer to rejoin his teammates. On May 29, he made his season debut with the team.
Hendriks struggled in that first game back, understandably. He gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in one inning of work. After that, Hendriks was back to his dominant self. In his four appearances following that game, Hendriks had a 2.25 ERA, held opponents to a .077 batting average, and racked up two wins and a save.