As the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin remained in critical condition in Cincinnati on January 4, a GoFundMe campaign for his charitable foundation has surpassed over $6 million in donations, with one of the NFL’s most prominent owners making a sizable contribution.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $18,003 on behalf of the team, ESPN’s Mike Reiss tweeted on January 3. The figure is not only the second-largest contribution, but it also represents a special meaning to Kraft, 81.
“Within the Jewish faith, 18 is “chai” and signifies life. The “3” is Damar Hamlin’s number,” Reiss tweeted. “Beautiful gesture.”
Hamlin’s fundraiser for his Chasing M’s Foundation was established an initial goal of $2,500, but more than 200,000 donors from around the world helped blow that figure out of the water. In addition to Kraft, several prominent people with ties to the Patriots — including former quarterback Tom Brady (who donated $10,000), former tight end Rob Gronkowski and for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels — have given money.
Patriots Players Join Robert Kraft in Donating Toward Special Cause
Several current players also made donations to Hamlin’s GoFundMe campaign.
Longtime free safety and well-respected defensive captain Devin McCourty donated $2,000, and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, quarterback Brian Hoyer and cornerbacks Marcus Jones and Myles Bryant each donated $1,000.
It wasn’t the first time Kraft captured headlines for his giving money.
On October 12, 2022, Massachusetts General Hospital announced it received a “revolutionary gift” of $50 million from Kraft and The Kraft Family Foundation to address healthcare disparities caused by race, ethnicity, geography and economic status. The eight-figure donation is the largest in the hospital’s 211-year history.
Latest Update on Damar Hamlin’s Condition
As donors continue to contribute to Hamlin’s foundation, he remains hospitalized in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s intensive care unit, per an update from the Bills on January 3.
ESPN’s Coley Harvey tweeted on January 4 about Hamlin’s recovery.
“Just chatted with Damar’s family friend [Jordon Rooney]. Per Jordon and Damar’s family, doctors overnight got promising reading that they had been hoping to see by this morning,” Harvey tweeted. “Jordon couldn’t go into specifics, but progress appears to be made.”
According to CNN, the 24-year-old remains sedated on a ventilator as doctors “work toward getting him to breathe on his own.”
Dorrian Glenn, Hamlin’s uncle, said the ventilator helps relieve some of the strain on his nephew’s damaged lungs.
“It seems like he’s trending upwards in a positive way,” Glenn told reporters on January 3.
Hamlin’s family released a statement on January 3 thanking the UC Medical Center staff, as well as all of those who have shown support during a scary situation.
“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere 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 around the country,” the statement said.
Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter of the Bills’ Week 17 Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. What initially looked like a routine tackle on Bengals WR Tee Higgins quickly appeared to be anything but. He was administered CPR and taken to the hospital. The league postponed with no makeup date announced as of midday on January 4.