Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest during an NFL game last month, was named the recipient of the 2023 Alan Page Community Award by the NFL Players Association on Wednesday.
Hamlin, 24, appeared in Phoenix to accept the award. He was recognized for his work raising more than $9 million for his Chasing M’s Foundation. The money, raised in a GoFundMe campaign, had an initial goal of $2,500 when Hamlin started it in December 2020 in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
“One of my favorite quotes: it’s a blessing to be a blessing,” Hamlin said, reading from a brief statement on stage with his parents at his side. “With that being said, I plan to never take this position for granted and always have an urgent approach to making a difference in the community where I come from and also communities across the world.”
Hamlin was named one of five finalists in late January, WGRZ-TV reported.
A true inspiration to all. ❤️💙— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) February 8, 2023
Congrats to @HamlinIsland on being named the @NFLPA 2023 Alan Page Community Award Winner: https://t.co/sXOIkBbQhm pic.twitter.com/pLGKcPlQim
Hamlin’s foundation received a $100,000 donation, ESPN reported.
The Alan Page Award annually recognizes one player who goes above and beyond to perform community service in his team city and/or hometown, according to The Associated Press. Hamlin’s toy drive received an unexpected spike in GoFundMe donations following his collapse during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 6, the news outlet reported.
“He is not only an individual who has overcome a tremendous amount, he’s not only a person who reminds us just how dangerous this game is, but also the spirit, the love, the joy, the fraternity of people who play this game,” Demaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, said during Wednesday’s news conference.
Hamlin, 24, released a six-minute video on his Instagram account on Jan. 29, a week after the Bills were eliminated from the AFC playoffs by the Bengals. He thanked fans and said he was “blown away” by the outpouring of support.