NEW YORK – This is not a team that he’d ever hoped to join, but that changed in January for the White Sox closer and his family.
When Liam Hendriks was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it put him face-to-face with cancer ahead of the start of his 13th Major League Baseball season. Already two months into his treatments, the pitcher hasn’t been participating in the White Sox spring training workouts in Arizona.
While he’s not on the field with that team, there is another that Hendriks, his wife Kristi, and the White Sox have helped over the past few months: The Lymphoma Research Foundation.
“They both are just incredible human beings,” said LRF CEO Meghan Gutierrez to WGN News Now about Liam and Kristi Hendriks. “I think when a lot of people have learned about him and his experience, they think about him on the field. But I think one of the things that I’ve learned is just how philanthropic they both are, how committed they are to giving back to the community.
“Without any sort of delay at all, they wanted to think how they help others despite facing a diagnosis themselves.”
Together they’ve taken part in a fundraiser for the New York City-based organization called “Close Out Cancer,” where t-shirts are being sold for $31, with the net proceeds going to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
At the request of Liam and Kristi, per the LRF, that money will be used to help lymphoma patients who are uninsured or lack resources to cover the many expenses that come because of treatments.
Gutierrez says that over $50,000 has been raised by the t-shirt sales, including from a number of fans outside of Chicago.
“I’ve been tickled to see Mets fans, Yankees fans here in the city reaching out, letting us know they’ve purchased t-shirts, and that they too are on Team Liam,” said Gutierrez, who works at the organization’s office in New York City.
Meanwhile, the CEO is happy to have Hendricks, his family, along with the club he plays for on the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s side moving forward.
“They and the entire White Sox organization, they’ve just been incredible partners and their desire to really help others and support our mission to eradicate lymphoma and serve those touched by this disease has just been incredibly genuine,” said Gutierrez. “It’s been a pleasure to meet them, while we regret the reason for this meeting, it’s been an incredible partnership.
“I’ve really been touched by their desire to help.”
Larry Hawley has more on how Hendriks has helped the Lymphoma Research Foundation in the video above.