Chicago White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January. In April, he announced that he was cancer-free and finally returned to the pitching mound.
New York Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco beat chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2019 while a member of the Cleveland Guardians. This week, Hendriks and Carrasco are on opposite benches, but the cancer survivors will always be part of the same inspiring team.
Major League Baseball pitchers came together to welcome pediatric cancer patients from Cohen Children’s Medical Center at Citi Field. Special guests visited the Queens ballpark as part of Carrasco’s «Cookie’s Kids» program.
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«It was really nice,» Carrasco told MLB.com. «He came here and he wanted to do this. There are a lot of people who can see that.» [and realize] If we can do it, they can do it too.»
The children were shown around the ballpark and given access to normally off-limits areas, such as the dugout and bullpen. They met with Hendriks and Carrasco to hear their uplifting stories about beating cancer.
WHITE SOX CLOSER LIAM HENDRIKS ANNOUNCES HE IS ‘CANCER-FREE’ AFTER NON-HODGKIN LYMPHOMA BATTLE
The children also received lunch, gifts and tickets to a future Mets game.
«The one thing I always try and emphasize is: you are not alone,» Hendriks said. «Get closer, talk to people. Don’t worry about talking to a therapist. Don’t worry about talking to people about it. Take the stigma out of the word ‘cancer.’ The more you talk about it, the lighter you start to feel. feel. It takes that weight off your shoulders.»
Hendriks, a three-time MLB All-Star from Australia, has been on the disabled list since June 11 with inflammation in his right elbow. The 34-year-old threw a few pitches off the mound at Citi Field during a simulated game as he continues to rehab his injured elbow.
Hendriks received a cortisone injection last month and was scheduled for a PRP injection. Both were cleared by his oncologist. He mentioned that chemotherapy treatments may have played a role in his injury.
Carrasco missed three months of the 2019 MLB season following his leukemia diagnosis. He returned to the mound and pitched for Cleveland.
Hendriks said the stories shared by pediatric cancer patients resonated deeply with him.
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«It was great today, to be able to talk to him about his stuff, what he went through and tell the stories,» Hendriks told reporters.
«And then hearing some of the kids talk about their treatment plans and all that, it’s always great. It relaxes you… You’re trying to take the stigma out of going through treatment and not being able to talk about it.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.