Back in 2020, when Damar Hamlin had just entered the NFL, he created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a way to give back to the community in which he was raised. He set up a modest GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the foundation’s first initiative, which was to provide toys for underprivileged children at Christmas. He set a goal of $2,500 and, according to a YouTube video he uploaded at the time, distributed $3,000 worth of toys that year.
The GoFundMe was still active Monday night when Hamlin, playing for the Buffalo Bills, was critically injured during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. As of the time of publication, just hours after Hamlin’s injury, more than 48,000 people have contributed to the GoFundMe, and more than $1.2 million has been raised.
In the introduction to the fundraiser, Hamlin wrote:
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. 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.
This campaign gives you the opportunity to contribute to our first initiative and positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic. 100% of the funds raised will go toward the purchase of toys for kids in need.
The then-rookie’s gratitude shone through:
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 used the daycare center his mom runs in McKees Rocks, PA, as a distribution center for the toys. In this video, it’s clear that Hamlin is heavily involved in his community and in being someone the children there can look up to.
Late Monday night it was reported that Hamlin’s vitals are “back to normal,” according to his marketing rep.
Here's what we know so far as Damar Hamlin is in critical condition after he collapsed on the field during the Bills-Bengals Monday Night Football game. MORE: https://t.co/vAVykDeGnV pic.twitter.com/lSnng1glSK
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) January 3, 2023
We’re all praying for Hamlin to pull through.