Damar Hamlin’s toy drive is now a substantial community fundraiser. Just hours after the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player suffered cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, fans donated over $4.5 million — or one donation every 0.3 seconds — to The Chasing M’s Foundation charity, which supports toy drives, back-to-school drives, and camp initiatives for kids.
According to the charity’s GoFundMe page, the purpose of the fundraiser is to “positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.” According to NPR, Hamlin’s original goal was to raise $2,500, a target that supporters have eclipsed by nearly 2,000 percent in a matter of hours.
“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,” Hamlin previously wrote. The athlete became one of the Bills’s starting safeties in September after Micah Hyde suffered a season-ending neck injury. “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.”
“Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”
Hamlin is currently in critical condition and awaiting testing and treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Since Monday night’s game, the Hamlin family has updated the Chasing M fundraiser page with a statement on the NFL player’s behalf. “This fundraiser was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation,” the family wrote. “However, it has received renewed support in light of Damar’s current battle and we can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”
Hamlin’s family went on to encourage donations, and to thank the athlete’s fans for their support. “If you would like to show your support and contribute to Damar’s community initiatives and his current fight, this is the place to do so,” they said. “This is the only current fund that is being used by the Hamlin Family. Again, thank you for your thoughts, prayers and generous support during this time.”