Winter 2022

Millions of dollars in donations pour in for Damar Hamlin's community toy drive

Following the scary scene Monday night in Cincinnati where Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field as he suffered a cardiac arrest following a tackle, prayers flooded in from around the NFL and beyond. So too did donations to a toy drive Hamlin launched in 2020.

As the 24-year-old remained in critical condition Tuesday at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, thousands of people found “The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive” on GoFundMe.com. What started with an initial goal of raising $2,500 in December 2020 has now raised more than $6 million as of 1 p.m. ET Wednesday.

“This fundraiser was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation,” an updated post read Tuesday. “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.

“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. This is the only current fund that is being used by the Hamlin Family.”

On the original post, Hamlin wrote, “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.

“… Thank you so much for supporting me on and off the field. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with you to help make the holiday season a little brighter for the kids in our community.”

Hamlin, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Pitt, grew up in a tough part of Pittsburgh. According to GoLongTD.com, three of Hamlin’s friends lost their lives in neighborhood shootings, and his father spent about 3.5 years in jail for selling drugs. However, the tough environment helped shape Hamlin into the man he is today, and making it to the NFL made him want to show others they can make it out too.

So he yearns to give back to his community, and feels that’s what God has called him to do.

“It’s all natural. It’s all genuine from the heart,” Hamlin told GoLongTD.com in July 2021. “It’s not even stuff I have planned out. It’ll be things that just pop up in my head and I’m going to make sure it happens. I feel like that’s God talking to me. I really feel like that’s what my purpose is. That’s why He put me here. That’s why he made me make it to the NFL besides everybody that I lost. Everyone. That’s why I’m the one. He knows my heart. He knows my intentions. It’s all pure. That’s really what I stand on.”

Please join us in continued prayer for complete healing and recovery for Hamlin.

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