Damar Hamlin’s Charity Receiving Millions in Donations After His Collapse

With little else to do in a dire situation, thousands of football fans turned to a local toy drive.

The Chasing M’s Foundation—the toy drive’s organizing charity, which was started by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin—has received more than $5 million in donations following Hamlin’s scary collapse against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night that left millions nationwide stunned. The game was postponed, and the 24-year-old was treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center overnight.

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“We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country,” Hamlin’s family said in a statement. “Your generosity and compassion has meant the world to us.”

The charitable campaign, which Hamlin launched while he was in college to aid children impacted by the pandemic, recently held its third annual community toy drive on Dec. 22 in Hamlin’s hometown of McKees Rocks, Penn. Even though the event has already taken place, fans flooded the fundraiser’s GoFundMe page.

“We’re grateful for the kindness, generosity and empathy our giving community shows every day, especially in moments like these, as seen in the fundraiser raising more than $2 million [last] evening,” a GoFundMe spokesperson said in a statement.

The verified page says that the original goal was $2,500. More than 177,000 donations later, the fund is at $5 million on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. It’s uncertain how the influx of money will be allocated since the 2022 toy drive is over.

Arash Ferdowsi, Satish Dharmaraj, Paige Vanderford, Christian McCaffery, Chris Jericho and Trey Lance were among the names listed on the crowdfunding platform who donated to the cause.

The Bills issued a statement saying that Hamlin suffered from cardiac arrest following a tackle during the first quarter of the game and that he remains in critical condition. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent also denounced claims that the game was originally set to be restarted after a five-minute warm up for players following Hamlin’s collapse in the first quarter. The NFL issued an update on Tuesday that the Bills-Bengals game will not be rescheduled for later this week.

The outpouring of support for Hamlin’s charity was a lone bright spot in an overall gloomy night for the Bills, Bengals and the NFL. Hamlin’s injury served as a stark reminder of how dangerous the sport is and the ongoing risk players accept by participating in the violent game.

Hamlin is finishing up his second season in the NFL after being drafted in the sixth round out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2021. He is tied for the second-most tackles on the Bills this season (91).

(This story has been updated to reflect the growing number of donations.)

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