By JNS Reporter
The cardiac arrest of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin after suffering an injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night has generated an outpouring of support and charitable donations — including from the Jewish owner of the New England Patriots. Hamlin remains in critical condition.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Kraft selected the number 18 for its religious meaning, and the number three for its ties to Hamlin himself (as its the number he wears for the Bills).
“Robert Kraft and the Patriots add $18,003.” Reiss said on Twitter, “Within the Jewish faith, 18 is “chai” and signifies life. The “3” is Damar Hamlin’s number. Beautiful gesture.”
In the initial 17 hours after Hamlin was taken off the field and hospitalized, his toy drive charity saw an average of 2.5 donations every second.
One of those showing well-wishes has been New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who provided $18,003 to the toy drive being held in Hamlin’s name. In Hebrew, letters correspond with numbers — 18 represents the word “chai,” which means life, and the 3 refers to Hamlin’s jersey number.
Hamlin started the toy drive as a GoFundMe project two years ago with the initial target of raising $2,500. Since his injury, the charitable mission has taken off, with over $6 million donated and counting.
Before joining the NFL, Hamlin — then known as a safety for the University of Pittsburgh — organized a community toy drive in his hometown of McKees Rocks, about 10 minutes outside of Pittsburgh.
At the time of its launch, Hamlin’s GoFundMe raised several thousand dollars, and the toys were distributed at the childcare center in McKees Rocks that Hamlin said he used to attend. It is now co-run by his mother, Nina.
“Just seeing role models in person, I feel like that’s big in kid’s lives, something that we haven’t always had in Pittsburgh,” Damar said in an interview at the time. Video footage featured him hugging and high-fiving kids and signing autographs. “I’m thankful I can even be in this position.” Just weeks ago, flyers show Hamlin held a similar toy drive for the 2022 holiday season according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady donated $10,000 to the cause and tweeted the message, “We’re praying for Damar and his family this morning in Tampa. Moments like this put into perspective what it means to play this game we love. Thankful for our communities in Cincinnati and Buffalo for the overwhelming level of care and support I know they’ll continue to provide.”
NBA star LeBron James also called for prayers for Hamlin and his family.
Football fans from all corners found Hamlin’s fundraise and immediately started to contribute. At the start of the night, there was about $100,000 raised and as of early Tuesday morning on the East Coast, there was more than $3 million raised for his charity.
The NFL postponed the game after it was temporarily suspended.
“Hamlin received immediate medical attention on the field by team and independent medical staff and local paramedics. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is in critical condition,” the league said in a statement.
As of Thursday, Hamlin remained in critical condition though showed signs of improvement.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.
(Additional reporting provided by Lennox Kalifungwa)
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