Liam Hendriks Gets First Win After Cancer on National Cancer Survivors Day: 'Pretty Special'

The Chicago White Sox pitcher made his return last week after announcing his stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was in remission

<p>Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo</p> Liam Hendriks

Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

Liam Hendriks

Sunday was a special day in many ways for Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks.

Less than a week after the 34-year-old relief pitcher played in his first game since his cancer diagnosis, Hendriks notched his first win of the season on Sunday. And it came on National Cancer Survivors Day, of all days.

“That’s one thing that’s pretty special,” Hendriks said after the game, according to “As soon as you get diagnosed, you are considered a survivor. You’ve lived through this. 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.”

Hendriks was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in January and underwent both immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

“You never think you will be the one who hears 'you have cancer' but there I was… in shock and fear not knowing what comes next,” he wrote on social media in April.

But soon after, Hendriks announced he was in remission and started getting ready to make his return to baseball.

Related: Chicago White Sox Pitcher Liam Hendriks Plays First Game Post-Cancer Treatments: &#39;I Felt Strong&#39;

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Liam Hendriks
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Liam Hendriks

Hendriks briefly played in the White Sox minor league system last month to get ready for his major league return. Then the Australian-born pitcher made his first appearance back last Monday, receiving multiple standing ovations throughout the game from the hometown crowd in Chicago.

“I felt good, I felt strong, I felt comfortable out there,” he said after his first game back.

<p>Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty</p> Liam Hendriks

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty

Liam Hendriks

Related: White Sox Pitcher Liam Hendriks Is Officially &#39;Cancer Free&#39; From Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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On Sunday, in Hendriks’ third appearance of the season, he pitched a perfect ninth inning while the game was tied 2-2. Hendriks excitedly screamed out and pumped his fist twice after striking out Detroit Tigers third baseman Tyler Nevin to end the inning.

Then in the bottom half of the ninth, White Sox teammate Jake Burger hit an emotional walk-off grand slam to win the game 6-2. Hendriks was standing at the top of the dugout when Burger hit the ball and raised both of his hands in the air as it flew into the stands. He was credited as the winning pitcher, having last pitched before Burger’s game-winning swing.

“It’s been an emotional week,” Hendriks told reporters after the game, noting his wife Kristi texted him to tell him his first win of the year came on National Cancer Survivors Day. “It’s one of those scripts.”

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