Baku 15˚C Sunny

Damar Hamlin: Millions raised for toy drive after player collapses

Sport 11:19 04 Jan, 2023
Donations to a toy drive launched in 2020 by American football player Damar Hamlin have soared
Damar Hamlin: Millions raised for toy drive after player collapses

The toy drive had raised over $5.6m (£4.7m) by Tuesday night. 

Money from the initial drive went to toys for children in need in Hamlin's hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, reports.

Hamlin remains in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during the match.

His uncle, Dorrian Glen, told CNN on Tuesday that Hamlin's health was "trending upwards" but he remains sedated on a ventilator.

Glen said the emergency had come as a shock to the family because Hamlin was "healthy as an ox" and had no pre-existing heart issues he knew of.

He disclosed that his nephew had to be resuscitated twice, on the field and at the hospital, and has been flipped on his stomach to take pressure off his lungs.

Donations to Hamlin's fundraiser poured in as it resurfaced online after shocked National Football League (NFL) fans watched the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety fall to the ground on Monday night, nine minutes into a match against the Cincinnati Bengals, following a hard collision with another player. 

The NFL suspended the game for the night and has said the game will not be resumed this week. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Hamlin's family thanked fans for the donations as well as for their "prayers" and "kind words". 

"We want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time," they said. 

Over 191,000 people have donated to the fundraiser organised two years ago by Hamlin's charity, the Chasing M Foundation, on the crowdfunding website GoFundMe in the hours since.

The drive has now raised more than two thousand times the charity's initial 2020 campaign goal of $2,500. 

In an update on the GoFundMe page, Hamlin's family said the fundraiser was initially established to raise money for a local toy drive, but was now the place to "contribute to Damar's community initiatives and his current fight". 

His Chasing M Foundation supports toy drives, back-to-school fundraisers, children's camps, and more, they added. 

The 2022 holiday season marked the third consecutive year Hamlin ran a toy drive after starting the fundraisers during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, according to his Instagram account. 

In a post on 25 December, Hamlin called his 2022 toy drive a "success" and shared a video of him distributing the gifts to children.