Sports

Fans donate millions to Damar Hamlin fundraiser after on-field collapse

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(NEW YORK) — In the hours after Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field Monday night, thousands of concerned fans showed their support via an online fundraiser created by the young NFL star previously, which has now gone viral and surpassed $6 million in donations.

Hamlin, 24, collapsed Monday evening moments after tackling wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals. First responders administered CPR to Hamlin on-field before he was placed in an ambulance on oxygen and driven out of the stadium to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Concerned fans tracked the developments in real time, with many flocking to Hamlin’s 2020 GoFundMe campaign for “The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive” to lend support.

The GoFundMe saw a resurgence in donations with more than $6 million raised, as of early Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for the platform confirmed to ABC News’ Good Morning America on Tuesday that Hamlin’s 2020 fundraiser “is verified.”

“We’re grateful for the kindness, generosity, and empathy our giving community shows every day, especially in moments like these. The fundraiser has raised more than $4 million since last night,” the GoFundMe spokesperson said.

Hamlin’s family posted an update to the initial fundraiser, writing that it “was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community” and now “it has received renewed support in light of Damar’s current battle and we can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”

Prior to Monday evening, Hamlin’s fundraising campaign aimed at helping buy toys for kids in need, hardest hit by the pandemic, had raised $2,921.

“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,” he wrote in the campaign’s initial post on GoFundMe. “I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive.”

The NFL issued a statement in the wake of Monday’s incident, stating that Hamlin “received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics” following his collapse, and that he was “transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition.”

“Our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bill. We will provide more information as it becomes available,” the statement read.

Monday night’s game was officially postponed around 10 p.m. ET.

The league added that it had been in “constant communication with the NFL Players Association which is in agreement with postponing the game.”

Hamlin’s family also issued a statement on Tuesday morning, thanking the first responders and medical staff who assisted him, as well as the fans for their support.

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time,” the statement read. “We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words and donations from fans around the country.”

“We also want to acknowledge the dedicated first responders and healthcare professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who have provided exceptional care to Damar,” the statement continued. “We feel so blessed to be part of the Buffalo Bills organization and to have their support. We also want to thank Coach Taylor and the Bengals for everything they’ve done.”

The statement concluded, “Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. Please keep Damar in your prayers. We will release updates as soon as we have them.”

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