On Monday night, the sporting world fell silent in shock.
Damar Hamlin, a safety for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, collapsed after what looked like a routine tackle on Cincinnati Bengals’ player Tee Higgins. Within moments, medical staff was on the field administering CPR and using a defibrillator in an attempt to resuscitate the 24 year old.
Hamlin was then rushed to the University of Cincinnati medical center, where he was sedated and intubated in critical condition.
Fans from around the league, still in shock, then discovered that Hamlin was involved with a fundraiser meant to provide toys for children in need and the rest was history.
“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,” Hamlin wrote on the foundation’s GoFundMe page.
The Chasing M Foundation was running a campaign to purchase toys for children in affected by the pandemic in McKees Rocks, Pa., where he grew up.
A cached version of the GoFundMe page shows that before Hamlin’s collapse, the foundation had raised a little over $2,900.
As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the fundraiser topped over $3.3 million in donations, 135,000% more than its goal. Thousands of fans across NFL teams shared words of support on the page, which GoFundMe verified on Twitter.
Buffalo Bills fans are well known for their charitable contributions.
When Bills Quarterback Josh Allen lost his grandmother, they donated $1.1 million to build a new wing at a local hospital. They also raised $75,000 for the favorite charity of a rival player, the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, after he was removed from a 2021 playoff game for a concussion.
At the time of this writing, Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition at UC Medical Center.