Just six months after being diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks notched his first win since returning to the mound — and it just so happened to coincide with National Cancer Survivors Day.
The White Sox and Detroit Tigers were knotted up 2-2 heading into the 9th and final inning Sunday night when Chicago manager Pedro Grifol called on his Australian All-Star to keep things close. Hendriks worked flawlessly, striking out two of the three batters he faced and keeping the game tied for his offense to try and win it.
And win it they did, thanks to a four-run game-ending grand slam off the bat of Alex Lange. The 385-foot bomb not only secured the win for Chicago, but also gave Hendriks his first win of the season.
"It's one of those scripts," he said after the game. "I mean, my wife texted me and was like 'You got your first win in National Cancer Survivors Day' and that's one thing that's pretty special."
After finding some lumps on his neck last summer, Hendriks was diagnosed with advanced stage blood cancer in December and immediately stepped away from baseball to undergo a grueling treatment regimen that included immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Then in April, Hendriks posted a video online of him ringing the "victory bell" after receiving his final round of treatment.
"Being able to ring this victory bell has been one of the most emotional things I've ever done," he said. "I cannot thank my team of doctors and nurses enough for coming up with the best medical plan for me. No words can express the gratitude I have for them saving my life."
Just 15 days later, Hendriks announced he was officially cancer-free.
With his health restored and his spirit unyielding, Hendriks returned to the White Sox on May 30, a moment that was a testament not only to his physical recovery but also his mental resilience. His story is one that transcends sports and truly embodies the meaning of "inspirational." It's a story that Hendriks hopes can serve as a beacon of hope for many others.
"As soon as you get diagnosed, you're considered a survivor. You've lived through this," he said. "Hopefully I can continue moving forward and continue somewhat at least doing the right thing on the field and give some people some hope to continue fighting."
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com