Hours after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed during the first quarter of Monday night’s game, fans showed their support by opening their wallets.
As fans awaited updates on Hamlin’s condition, his The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive reached over $3 million. His initial goal for the annual toy drive was $2,500. At the time of publishing, it exceeded $4 million.
The 24-year-old player started the drive in 2020 while still a Pittsburgh college player. Hamlin’s fundraiser’s purpose was to give back to children in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Philadelphia.
Hamlin wrote on the GoFundMe page for the fundraiser, “As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me. I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive.”
He even urged individuals to contribute in other ways if they could not give monetarily.
The link circulated on Twitter shortly after Hamlin was rushed off the field, showing an amount of $20,000. According to CNN, within the first hour, the total had ballooned to $74,000. By 1 a.m. ET, the count soared to $2,033,270.
The support for the Bills players is nothing new for their diehard fans, the Bills Mafia.
The Buffalo Bills team website highlighted that in 2020 the fans donated over $1 million to a children’s hospital in memory of quarterback John Allen’s grandmother.
The annual toy drive takes place at Kelly and Nina’s Daycare Center in the area, which is co-owned by Hamlin’s mother.
A video of the 2022 drive was shared on Christmas Day, capturing the effort from Hamlin and his Chasing Millions organization.
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Hamlin collapsed at 8:44 p.m. after tackling Tee Higgins of the Cinncinatti Bengals. After the play, he stood up and fell back to the ground.
CNN states medical personnel administered CPR for almost 15 minutes before taking him to a local hospital.
Hamlin was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
During the night, the Bills provided updates, releasing a statement naming cardiac arrest as the diagnosis for the scary sight.
“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. “His heartbeat was restored on the field, and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
Officials called the game’s end with 5:58 minutes left in the first quarter, with the NFL officially postponing it shortly after 10 p.m. ET.
As of publishing on Tuesday afternoon, Hamlin remains in critical condition.