HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills’ safety who was hospitalized after a dangerous hit last week, is back home after being released from the hospital Wednesday.
Hamlin gained national attention after he went into cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2. The NFL originally suspended the game, but it was eventually cancelled in the following days.
Since being injured, more than $8.5 million in donations have flooded in for Hamlin’s nonprofit “The Chasing M’s Foundation.” Those donations came from people across the country from top-level athletes, fantasy football leagues, and one Alabamian who found a unique way to contribute.
After watching Hamlin’s tragic turn on the field, Lance Henry looked through his football card collection where he found Hamlin’s rookie card.
“What was happening was people were running it up on purpose with no intention to pay or trying to capitalize on the issue,” Henry told News 19. “I thought maybe I should auction [the card] off, donate the money, and benefit him instead of me.”
Hamlin’s nonprofit supports toy drives, back-to-school drives, and kids’ camps.
Henry says the initiative for kids was what drew him because collecting cards was a memory he shared with his dad.
“I felt led to because of the significance,” Henry continued. “I got to spend time with my dad chasing the cards, which is really cool. We’d do a lot of that together and it just kind of [brought] back memories of my childhood.”
Matt Christian, a Floridian, won the bid for the card at $600. He paid directly to Hamlin’s organization and should receive the card shortly.
“It’s terrible that tragedy has to happen to bring people together, but at the same time, it’s a blessing that people come together and are less divisive when going through something like this,” Christian explained. “It creates an opportunity for so many people to share love and to see people turn to God to pray.”
The foundation’s GoFundMe offers an option for those unable to contribute financially. The initiative can also be supported by donating toys at local daycare centers.