Fans contribute more than $4M to Damar Hamlin charity toy drive

Fans have donated nearly $4.1 million to a charity toy drive hosted by Damar Hamlin and Chasing M’s Foundation in less than 24 hours in tribute to the injured Buffalo Bills safety.

Hamlin, 24, remained in critical condition at University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Tuesday. A defensive back, Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter due to cardiac arrest in Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Not long after Hamlin was transported by ambulance, fans began to share the GoFundMe page that Hamlin established when he played collegiately at Pittsburgh. The goal if the drive was to help provide toys to children during the pandemic.

GoFundMe verified the page Tuesday morning and said Hamlin’s initial goal of $2,500 was far exceeded by nearly 130,000 donations in the 10 hours after he collapsed on the field.

At 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday, the fund was more than $1 million. By sunrise in Cincinnati, donations exceeded $3.3 million. By noon, the fund contained more than $4 million.

Among the donors listed on the GoFundMe site are New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, JJ, with a $3,000 gift.

On her social media page, JJ Dalton recalled how the Buffalo Bills community donated thousands of dollars to the couple’s charity Andy’s heroics, while playing with the Cincinnati Bengals, helped the Bills reach the playoffs for the first time in years following the 2017 season. The charity donated much of the money to a Buffalo hospital to benefit pediatric patients, and JJ Dalton asked the community to remember Hamlin’s charity, too.

“Hundreds of children were impacted due to their kindness and generosity,” she posted to her Instagram story about the contributions from Bills’ fans. “Football is so much bigger than the game… Damar is a son, a brother. A friend, a teammate…first and most importantly let’s please continue to pray for the miraculous healing of Damar Hamlin, for peace and protection over his family and loved ones, our Bills family, and for wisdom and guidance of the medical staff surrounding him! Let’s come together as a community to support a cause that is important to Damar!”

Hamlin has been described by teammates as “generous, genuine and caring.”

He was accompanied to the hospital by his mother, who was in attendance at the Monday primetime game.

His family issued a statement Tuesday.

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country. We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar. We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach (Zac) Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.

“Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them.”

-Field Level Media

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