NFL players and fans alike have been showing their support for Damar Hamlin over the past day by donating millions of dollars to a charity that he created coming out of college.
The Bills safety was taken to the hospital in critical condition on Monday night after going into cardiac arrest during the first quarter of Buffalo's game in Cincinnati. The Bills announced early Tuesday that Hamlin's heartbeat was restored on the field thanks to the quick action of the medical personnel at Paycor Stadium. The team also announced Tuesday afternoon that Hamlin is in critical condition after spending Monday night in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
With players and fans watching helplessly at home, many of them wanted to help and they did that by donating more than $7 million to Hamlin's charity. The 24-year-old started his charity in 2020, just after finishing his college career at Pitt.
Going into Monday night, Hamlin's GoFundMe page had less than $3,000 in donations, but after watching what transpired on the field in Cincinnati, NFL players and fans sprung into action and proceeded to donate millions over the next 18 hours.
As of Wednesday at 11 p.m. ET, the donation total was at over $7 million with one of the biggest donations coming from Tom Brady, who gave $10,000 to Hamlin's cause. Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara also donated $10,000 as did wrestler Chris Jericho of the AEW.
Not to be outdone, Matthew Stafford donated $12,000.
Andy Dalton, Sauce Gardner, Mike Evans, George Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, Shannon Sharpe, Drake London, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant, Andrew Whitworth, Lawrence Guy, Brian Hoyer, Lloyd Cushenberry, Trey Lance, Ryan Leaf. and the McCourty brothers (Devin and Jason) are other players or former players who donated at least $1,000.
From a team perspective, one of the biggest donations came from the Bills' opponent in Week 18: The New England Patriots. Pats owner Robert Kraft donated $18,003 on behalf of his team while the Houston Texans donated $10,003, the Washington Commanders donated $5,000 and the Seahawks contributed $1,000 to Hamlin's charity.
Colts owner Jim Irsay made the biggest donation of anyone by pledging $25,003 to Hamlin's cause.
Several coaches and front office members also donated, including Rams coach Sean McVay, who contributed $10,000. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and 49ers general manager John Lynch also donated money.
Overall, more than 219,000 people have donated to the cause.
"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," Hamlin wrote on the GoFundMe Page. "I created The Chasing M's Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive."
Hamlin has been holding a toy drive annually since 2020 and he recently shared a video on Instagram of his most recent toy drive, which took place just a few weeks ago.
GoFundMe even did its best to help Hamlin's charity by featuring it on Twitter Monday night.
Here is the verified GoFundMe Demar Hamlin started in December to help kids have a magical Christmas.— GoFundMe (@gofundme) January 3, 2023
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 💚https://t.co/wcubpBpdd1
Not only did fans donate to his charity, but hundreds of fans also showed up to hold vigil at the University of Cincinnati medical center where Hamlin is currently being treated.
The Bills safety collapsed with just under six minutes left to play in the first quarter after taking a shoulder to the chest from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Medical personnel on the field administered CPR and used an AED to get his heart beating again.
The game was temporarily suspended just before 9:20 p.m. ET and then the NFL called for a full postponement just after 10 p.m. ET. The NFL has announced that the game definitely won't be played this week, although it hasn't officially been canceled.
Hamlin is in his second-year with the Bills and has been with the team since they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Hamlin didn't go into the 2022 season as Buffalo's starting safety, but he was thrust into the job after Micah Hyde went down with an injury and his performance had been a bright spot for a Bills defense that has been one of the best in the NFL this year.