Damar Hamlin wanted to raise $2,500 to get kids toys for Christmas. After his cardiac arrest on the field, his fans donated millions.

In the weeks before his sudden collapse During a game in Cincinnati on Monday night, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin focused on raising money to give his hometown kids toys for Christmas. Hours after Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and fell into critical condition, his fans donated millions to the campaign.

The fundraiser premiered on GoFundMe on December 14 to “have a positive impact on children who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.” Donations made to the campaign are intended to help buy toys for these children, according to the site, and toys were distributed Dec. 22 to a daycare centre.

He has set a goal of raising $2,500 for the initiative. CBS News isn’t sure exactly how much money had been raised before the toys were distributed, but according to CBS Pittsburgh, more than $600,000 had been raised as of 10:30 p.m. Monday.

GoFundMe has verified fundraisingtweeting that he wanted to “help the kids have a magical Christmas”.

“Following his injury on the field tonight, fans across the country are showing their support for him and his family by donating to his fundraiser,” the company said.

On Tuesday night, he raised over $5 million, with many people donating thousands of dollars over the past few hours. Several people made one-time donations between $1,000 and $5,500.

Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills tackles Tee Higgins #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter of an NFL football game at Paycor Stadium on January 2, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The flood of donations came shortly after the 24-year-old Pennsylvania native collapsed during the first quarter of the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals. During the first quarter of the game, Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. When Hamlin stood up, he appeared to take a few steps before suddenly collapsing on the ground, where medical professionals treated him for around 10 minutes before putting him in an ambulance. The match was postponed shortly thereafter.

A few hours later, the Bills issue a statement on Twitter saying that Hamlin had suffered cardiac arrest.

“His heart rhythm was restored on the field and he was transferred to UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment,” the team said. “He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”

An update on the fundraising page that was added on Tuesday thanked supporters for donating to Hamlin’s initiative. He also said the GoFundMe is “the only current fund” used by Hamlin’s family.

“This fundraiser was originally created to support a toy drive for the Damar community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation,” the update read. “However, he has received renewed support in light of the current Damar battle and we cannot thank you all enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”

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