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Damar Hamlin, Chasing M’s and Changing Hearts

By: Sydney Spack, Red & Black Contributor


Damar Hamlin runs out on the field. (Photo Courtesy Timothy T Ludwig)

JAN. 20 - Bills vs. Bengals. The first quarter of that Monday night football game would forever change the history of America’s favorite sport. Damar Hamlin, number three on the Buffalo Bills, made a quick tackle, one that looked identical to any other. Nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, when he made it to his feet again, he paused for a second before falling flat to his back, where he would lay motionless for roughly fifteen more minutes, as PBS.org reports. It was later determined that Hamlin had suffered a cardiac arrest on the field, but the urgency and skill of the medical professionals saved his life that evening. Through social media, the Bills and the NFL continually released updates concerning Damar’s condition during the period following the injury. Since the game on Jan. 2, Damar has made incredible progress and has since been released from the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the Bills’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

During the immediate aftermath of the terrifying ordeal, fans and sympathizers across the country began searching the internet to learn more about this young player. Pro-Football-Reference.com reports the 25-year-old McKees Rocks native attended Central Catholic High School before playing football at the University of Pittsburgh. From there, he was drafted to the NFL and picked up by the Bills with the 212th overall pick in the 2021 draft, as detailed on NFL.com. As the search into Damar’s life continued, many curious fans stumbled upon an organization titled “The Chasing M’s Foundation”, which hosted a fundraiser for children’s toys. In Damar’s own words, “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 later goes on to say, “100% of the funds raised will go toward the purchase of toys for kids in need.” The fundraiser, along with Damar’s entire statement, can be located on GoFundMe.com.

“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.” - Hamlin


Upon reaching the page, the goal of the fundraiser is detailed, which in the case of the Chasing M’s Foundation is $2,500. Once the football community caught wind of the foundation, donations began pouring in. They were not only in support of the honest work being done by Damar Hamlin for the children but also as a show of support to a football player that caught the attention of the country in a matter of seconds through tragedy. The foundation has nearly $9,000,000 in donations as of Jan. 17 and the number only continues to grow. One donator, Michele Burgess, wrote, “The feel-good story of the year for me.” Damar Hamlin’s recovery, the solidarity of fans across each organization, and the endless donations to children in need is the feel-good story of the year for everyone, despite it only being January.
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