While Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center following an on-field collapse from cardiac arrest, donations to his holiday fundraiser — a toy drive promoted by his Chasing M’s Foundation — have surged. Over $3.4 million has poured in, from over 134,000 contributors, in the hours following the medical emergency.
Established in December 2020, the GoFundMe set an initial goal of $2,500 for the community toy drive benefiting a daycare center in Hamlin’s hometown, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. “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,” he wrote in the fundraiser description. “Thank you so much for supporting me on and off the field.”
On Monday night, the 24-year-old fell to the ground seconds after colliding with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins in a tackle during the opening quarter of the game at Paycor Stadium. Medical staff and local paramedics administered CPR to restore Hamlin’s heartbeat before he was transported to the hospital in an ambulance around 16 minutes later.
“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in the Buffalo Bills’ game versus the Cincinnati Bengals,” the Bills said. “His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”
Hamlin’s family also issued a statement late Tuesday morning, expressing “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.”
The family did not provide any updates on his health, but said they will be released “as soon as we have them.
The Bills-Begals game was temporarily suspended following Hamlin’s collapse. The NFL Players Association issued a statement before the NFL itself, stating: “The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well being.”
About an hour after Hamlin’s collapse, the NFL announced that the game had been postponed. “The NFL has been in constant communication with the NFL Players Association which is in agreement with postponing the game,” their statement read.
The Bills departed from the stadium to return to Buffalo nearly three hours after Hamlin was transported to the hospital. Around the same time, Higgins tweeted: “My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro.”
This story was updated 1/3/23 at 11:58 a.m. ET with a statement from Hamlin’s family.