A community toy drive fundraiser launched by Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation in 2020 has surpassed over $3.7 million in donations in the wake of the Buffalo Bills safety’s horrific cardiac arrest during Monday night’s game against the Bengals.
The fundraiser, which had originally set a goal of $3,500, has received over 142,000 donations as of Tuesday morning, with comments flooding in sending prayers for Hamlin’s recovery. The 24-year-old was in critical condition as of Monday night.
“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’s message on the GoFundMe page reads. “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. This campaign gives you the opportunity to contribute to our first initiative and positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic. 100% of the funds raised will go toward the purchase of toys for kids in need.”
Buffalo Bills fans, who refer to themselves as the Bills Mafia, have a track record of charitable giving.
In 2020, Bills fans donated $1.1 million to Oishei Children’s Hospital following the death of Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s grandmother.
In 2021, Bills fans also raised $75,000 for Baltimore Ravens player Lamar Jackson’s favorite charity, Blessings in Backpacks, after he was removed from a playoff game due to a concussion.
Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle in the first quarter of Monday night’s game.
According to a statement by the Bills’ official Twitter account, his heartbeat was “restored on the field.” The 24-year-old was then transferred to UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment.
The NFL said in a statement that their “thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills” and that they would be postponing the game following consultation with the NFL Players Association.
Hamlin has received an outpouring of support and prayers from social media, from notable individuals including Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Mahomes, Disney CEO Bob Iger, LeBron James, Billie Jean King and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.