Damar Hamlin has to figure out what to do with $8.6 million raised by his small charitable toy drive after his cardiac arrest on the field last week.
Damar Hamlin, 24, of the Buffalo Bills had just tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins when he took two steps and collapsed, going into cardiac arrest. Medics on the scene administered CPR as he was taken off the field, and the game was postponed, but many fans stayed in the stands for hours, waiting for an update. That was January 2, 2023. Yesterday, January 10, Hamlin was released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to convalesce at home in Buffalo.
In the intervening time, donations poured into a small GoFundMe Hamlin had set up to buy toys for needy children. It had taken two years for that fund to reach $2,900, but in the first day he spent in the hospital, over $5.5 million poured in. The number kept climbing. By the time he was released on Monday, the fund was over $8.6 million and still climbing.
Before he was even released, the young athlete was looking for how to do the most good possible with the money. He wanted to go beyond toys. To that end, Hamlin has partnered with the Giving Back Fund, a nonprofit that helps athletes manage their charitable giving, and opened the “Chasing M’s Foundation” Charitable Fund. The new fund will create endowments with the donations to support young people through education and sports.
Damar Hamlin and his family “are humbled by the tremendous support that has been shown as he recovers,” according to his marketing representative, Jordon Rooney. “They are incredibly grateful for the continued prayers and outpouring of concern that has been exhibited by people all over the world,” Rooney wrote in an email, adding that they plan to communicate with donors over time about the change in use of their donations. The new fund is now soliciting donations online and via text.
Photo: Damar Hamlin on the football field. Credit: 1022 Project / Shutterstock.com