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After Damar Hamlin’s terrifying injury, his Toys for Tots drive raises $8 million and counting

Fans look on as the ambulance leaves carrying Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills

Photo by Kirk Irwin / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 01/15/23

In times of crisis, human beings have a beautiful ability to come together and support one another.

The world seemed to stop when Damar Hamlin fell.

The Buffalo Bills safety suffered a cardiac arrest and needed to have his heart restarted during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2. 

The moment he collapsed, it was clear that this was not the usual sports injury, but something much different and more serious. Commentators and officials floundered for how to respond and what to say in a truly terrifying situation.

Football fans, meanwhile, responded quickly with a stunning display of support and solidarity. People around the world began sending in donations to Hamlin’s Toys for Tots Drive, which he had begun back in 2020.

To fully appreciate the impact of the response, you have to know that the goal for the drive was $2,500, and it had raised about that amount in the previous two years. 

After Hamlin’s injury, the fundraiser went viral, and has raised over $8 million and counting. 

GoFundMe verified the fundraiser in a tweet, which read, “Here is the verified GoFundMe Demar Hamlin started in December to help kids have a magical Christmas. Following his injury on the field tonight, fans across the country are showing their support for him and his family by donating to his fundraiser 💚”

When the fundraiser was first established, back in 2020, Hamlin shared the following message:

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 … 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’s generous spirit is an inspiration, and it’s moving to see so many people respond in kind. 

Top donors to the fundraiser include owners of various football teams, as well as a number of well-known players. But the vast majority of contributions came from the thousands of fans watching at home. 

In times of crisis, human beings have a beautiful ability to come together and support each other. The incredible response to Hamlin’s fundraiser is a powerful witness to that. 

As we continue to pray for his full recovery, we can find inspiration in Hamlin’s charitable efforts to give back, and in the outpouring of kindness and support from fans around the world.  

Acts of KindnessCharityInspiring storiesSports
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