Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has joined those in the NFL community who have donated money to the GoFundMe campaign started by the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin, who remained in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital on January 4.
Stafford donated $12,000 to the campaign, Rams Wire’s Cameron DaSilva. The GoFundMe drive was established by Hamlin to fund his charity, The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive.
Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe Has Surpassed $6 Million in Donations Since On-Field Incident
Hamlin’s community toy drive was initially set up in 2020, while he was still playing football at the University of Pittsburgh. He organized the drive during the coronavirus pandemic with the original mission of raising $2,500 to give back to youth in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh).
In the hours following Hamlin’s collapse on the Paycor Stadium field, more than 200,000 donors — including Stafford, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Davante Adams. As of noon Eastern time on Wednesday, January 4, the toy drive had exceeded $6.3 million in donations.
Hamlin’s first mission statement on the GoFundMe page read: “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.”
Hamlin’s desire through the campaign was to “positively impact children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic” while adding “100% of the funds raised will go toward the purchase of toys for kids in need.”
The GoFundMe page has since provided an update:
“This fundraiser was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation. However, it has received renewed support in light of Damar’s current battle and we can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.
“This is the only current fund that is being used by the Hamlin Family. We appreciate your understanding as we give them the time and space they need to focus on Damar’s health first. Again, thank you for your thoughts, prayers and support during this time.”
Rams Join Rest of NFL in Honoring Damar Hamlin on Social Media
As a strong show of compassion toward Hamlin and the Bills, all 32 teams, including the Rams, changed their Twitter profile pictures to a graphic that reads, “Pray for Damar” with his No. 3 jersey number.
The Bills, in response, shared a 30-second clip with the theme “It’s more than football” at 5:50 p.m. Eastern.
The Bills’ Week 17 road game versus the Bengals was postponed by the NFL after Hamlin absorbed a hit to the chest area from Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin originally got back up from the contact but quickly collapsed and laid motionless on the turf. After nearly 10 minutes of CPR and attention from medical personnel, Hamlin was transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was admitted in critical condition.
Hamlin’s uncle Dorrian Glenn then provided an update on Hamlin’s condition with WROC-TV Buffalo sports director Thad Brown on Tuesday evening, January 3.
“Right now, they’re just trying to get him to breathe better. He’s on a ventilator to help him with breathing and they’re trying to get his lungs back to full strength,” Glenn said, while adding that Hamlin improved to only needing 50% oxygen after needing 100% when he first arrived at the trauma center. “That’s definitely an upward trend and we’re thankful for that.”
Glenn is thankful for all the prayers for his nephew.
“I really believe in the power of prayer. I mean, it’s been prayers from all over the world. And I can’t believe the outpour of well wishes, prayers and support from everybody. It’s so touching and heartfelt and it helps us to be able to deal with it. It shows we’re not alone in dealing with this,” Glenn said.