Damar HamlinIts goal was simple: He wanted to raise $2,500 online to buy toys for children in need.
It took almost two years.
Then came Monday, when Buffalo Bill The safety was seriously injured and needed his heart restarted on the field in a chilling scene that unfolded during a nationally televised game. Cincinnati Bengals. He immediately became the biggest story in sports, and thousands of people found his GoFundMe page.
The result: More than $5 million was donated in the first 21 hours after his injury. And the numbers are climbing.
A fundraiser that raised $2,921 last month was over $5 million just after 6 p.m. Tuesday — with about 176,700 people going online to donate, an average of about $28. Some grants were small. Some were over $5,000. Some were even from New England Patriots players, who are scheduled to play Sunday in Buffalo for the regular-season finale.
An average of about 2.5 donations per second during that initial 17-hour period. Many brought a message of hope for a 24-year-old player in his second season, listed in critical condition, bedridden at a hospital in Cincinnati.
“There are moments in life that stop the world,” wrote Michael Lynch, who donated. “We all pray for two things. Your speedy recovery and your increased influence in the world through the funding you give me.”
Messages poured in from various fan bases, with many donors letting the world know they supported other teams. One came up with a hashtag that read, “We’re all Bills fans.”
A Statement on TuesdayHamlin’s family expressed their “deepest 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 across the country.”
Hamlin started the GoFundMe in December 2020. He is just wrapping up his college career and getting ready for the NFL draft process. And he wanted to do a toy drive at Kelly and Nina’s day care center — a facility co-owned by his mother — in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a place with about 6,000 residents on the south bank of the Ohio River.
“As I begin my journey in the NFL, I will never forget where I came from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” Hamlin wrote while setting off the drive. “I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that would 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 the hardest hit children. Affected by the epidemic. “
He closed the first event with about 10 days of planning. Donated gifts, including some clothes Pit, where he had just finished playing. Hamlin’s upbringing wasn’t easy: Growing up, he lost three friends to gun violence and saw his father spend nearly 3½ years in prison for selling drugs. But as soon as he was able, Hamlin wanted to help others.
So, he started a toy drive. And on Monday, the world finally noticed.
“Damar created The Chasing M’s Foundation to be used as a vehicle to make a lasting impact in his community,” his foundation wrote in a message posted on its donation page Tuesday. “The foundation supports toy drives, back-to-school drives, kids’ camps and more.”
Many of the donations have come from Bill’s fans, affectionately known as the Bill Mafia, and this is the first time they’ve gone online to show support. In recent years, Bill’s fans have shown support Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua TagovailoaAlso in Cincinnati – its foundation after leaving a game with a concussion; for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar JacksonCharity after the Ravens lost a playoff game to Buffalo; And many donated $16.88 to the PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative of Western New York following the death this summer of FIU player Luke Knox.
brother of Luke Knox, Dawson Knox, a tight end for the Bills. $16.88 was a nod to their jersey numbers.
This report uses information from The Associated Press.