Damar Hamlin: Toy drive tops $3M after on-field cardiac arrest

In the hours following the on-field cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin, his online toy drive fundraiser had gained more than $3 million in donations.

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CPR was performed on the field after the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player collapsed after a tackle during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin had tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and stood up before he fell over onto his back. The game was suspended with 5:58 left in the first quarter and officially postponed about an hour after Hamlin’s collapse, NBC News reported.

The Bills said Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored on the field before he was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he is sedated and in critical condition, according to NBC News.

Hamlin had created a GoFundMe campaign in 2020 to raise money to buy toys for children, writing at that time, “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.”

He had set a goal of $2,500 when he created the fundraiser in 2020 to get toys for children who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC News reported.

The money, at the time, was going to a day care in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

GoFundMe spread the word about the donations that had been flowing in, sharing the verified campaign page on Twitter.

Last month, WKBW spoke with Hamlin at a toy drive event he held in Buffalo.

“Something I’ve always been into just giving back, something I’ve been doing back home in Pittsburgh for three years, I’ve been doing the toy drive, so just being able to extend it to Buffalo now is just something I love doing,” he told WKBW.

Hamlin was the sixth-round draft pick for the Buffalo Bills, joining the team in 2021 and making his NFL debut on Sept. 12, 2021, against his hometown team — the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went to the University of Pittsburgh, playing for the Panthers in 46 games from 2016-2020.