Damar Hamlin's toy drive charity raises more than $9M on GoFundMe

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has received support from across the world after his life-threatening injury on Monday Night Football.

Fans donated in droves to Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation page on GoFundMe. Hamlin started the fundraiser in December 2020 to purchase toys for children ahead of the holidays, writing "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."

It is now over $9 million.

An update on the fundraiser said, "We can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us."

More than 200,000 people went online to donate, on average, about $30. Some of the donations were smaller. Some were more than $5,000. On average, about three donations were being made every second in that initial 12-hour span.

And many came with messages of hope.

“There are moments in life that stop the world,” wrote Michael Lynch, who donated Tuesday morning. “We all pray for two things. Your speedy recovery and that your impact to the world is enhanced by your go fund me.”

The messages poured in from different fan bases, many of the donors letting the world know that they support other teams. One came with a hashtag that read, “we are all Bills fans.”

Family spokesman Jordon Rooney said that all donations will support the foundation.

Hamlin started the GoFundMe in December 2020. He was just wrapping up his college career and getting ready for the NFL draft process. And he wanted to have a toy drive at Kelly and Nina’s Daycare Center in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a place with about 6,000 residents along the south bank of the Ohio River.

Many of the donations came from Bills fans, affectionately known as Bills Mafia, and this is far from the first time they’ve gone online to show support. In recent years, Bills fans have shown support for Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s foundation after he left a game – also in Cincinnati – with a concussion; for Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson’s charity after the Ravens lost a playoff game to Buffalo; and many made donations of $16.88 to the P.U.N.T. Pediatric Cancer Collaborative in western New York following the death this summer of FIU player Luke Knox.

Luke Knox’s brother, Dawson Knox, is a tight end for the Bills. The $16.88 was a nod to their jersey numbers.

Hamlin suffered a horrific injury after making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals at 8:55 p.m. on Monday Night Football. First responders tended to Hamlin on the field, giving him CPR and taking him in an ambulance at 9:25 p.m. to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The NFL said he is in critical condition.

The game was postponed at 10 p.m.

Includes reporting by The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Damar Hamlin's charity raises more than $9M hours after his injury