As doctors in Cincinnati cared for Damar Hamlin Monday night, NFL fans did what they could to offer support. They prayed, they tweeted well wishes — and they donated millions of dollars to Hamlin’s community toy drive.
Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, was seriously injured during the first quarter of Monday’s game. He collapsed on the field after being involved in a tackle and had to be administered CPR before an ambulance could safely take him away.
In the aftermath of Hamlin’s injury, Bills and Cincinnati Bengals players cried and prayed together on the field. They then returned to their respective locker rooms, where they were later notified that the game had been postponed.
As the players comforted each other in Cincinnati, NFL fans from around the world sprung into action. They found information about the toy drive on Hamlin’s Instagram account and began making donations.
The toy drive, which Hamlin runs annually through his charitable foundation, had raised around $10,000 on GoFundMe by the time Monday’s Bills-Bengals game kicked off. By Tuesday morning, the fundraiser had surpassed $3.2 million.
Many donors paired their monetary support with a message of support and let Hamlin know that he was in their prayers.
“We are all with you, Damar. Bengals Nation is now Bills Nation,” said one donor.
“Praying for you Damar, the Bills, the fans, and family of Damar! Fight hard! #weareallbillsfans,” said another.
As of early Tuesday morning, Hamlin remained in critical condition at UC Medical Center in Cincinnati, according to the Buffalo Bills.
“Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition,” the team said in a tweet.