Stricken NFL star Damar Hamlin raised money to give local kids toys at Christmas

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Damar Hamlin
Damar Hamlin's toy drive fundraiser has soared to more than £2.6million in donations following his cardiac arrest (Image: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Damar Hamlin's charitable habits are receiving huge attention after the Buffalo Bills star tragically suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday.

The 24-year-old safety collapsed in the first quarter of his side's NFL clash against the Cincinnati Bengals and is understood to still be in a critical condition. However, the sports community has done its best to show support for Hamlin in his time of need by shining a spotlight on his children's charity.

Hamlin helped start the 'Chasing M's [Millions] Foundation' in 2020, participating in fundraising activities and raising donations through clothing and merchandise. However, one Christmas toy drive fundraiser has received particular attention following the player's health crisis and raised more than £2.6million ($3.1m) through 123,000 donations as of Tuesday morning.

The vast majority of those pledges have come in the hours immediately following Hamlin's collapse at Paycor Stadium. The GoFundMe campaign was started in 2020 and featured an original goal of just £2,100 ($2,500).

That means the fundraiser has now met its goals more than 1,280 times over, with many donors gifting as much as £4,200 ($5,000) to help a great cause. Upon starting the toy drive initiative, Hamlin said he would 'never forget where he came from' and was determined to 'use his platform to positively impact the community that raised him'.

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Stricken NFL star Damar Hamlin raised money to give local kids toys at ChristmasDamar Hamlin has helped raise money for children in need through his Chasing M's Foundation

It was only an hour after the player's fall at Paycor Stadium that the Chasing M's fundraiser topped £62,000 ($74,000) in donations. Just a few hours later, that figure had surpassed the £2.5m ($3m) mark.

"I'm thankful that I can even be in this position to give back," Hamlin said in a vlog documenting his December 2020 toy drive. "I can't really remember too many people that got in front of me to show me, 'This is the way to go, this is the way to do it.'

Stricken NFL star Damar Hamlin raised money to give local kids toys at ChristmasBuffalo Bills star Damar Hamlin remained in critical condition as of Tuesday morning (Joshua A Bickel/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

"So I really feel like it's important for me to do it, because I know the difference it can play in a kid's life. Even if it's just me, just one time, it could have a big impact on their lives, to keep them out of trouble along the road."

Hamlin recently celebrated the third annual edition of his toy drive in Pittsburgh, where he attended university and played for five seasons. The Chasing M's Foundation is focused on helping the less fortunate and 'puts a community of like-minded people behind you to help achieve the life you want'.

Tom Sunderland

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