Damar Hamlin: GoFundMe removes fake replicas of NFL star's $6M toy drive fundraiser
CINCINNATI, OHIO: Fake replicas of Damar Hamlin's Toy Drive campaign on GoFundMe are being taken down from the platform. The fundraiser page has been active since his tragic incident during the game against Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, 2023.
Buffalo Bills safety collapsed on the field after he tackled Tee Higgins and then stood up. Shockingly, he passed out in the next few seconds. He is reportedly 'sedated' in ICU at the University of Cincinnati Hospital where he was immediately taken after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the game.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Buffalo Bills safety started the Toy Drive fundraiser to raise money for families in 2020 which has now raised over $6 million as donations in the wake of his incident on Monday. Including Tom Brady who has donated $10, 000 to the campaign, there are several sizeable donations made from famous figures. The page initially targeted raising $2,500 during the pandemic and later raised around $2,921 for the families.
Since his collapse, several fundraisers have gone live and reportedly replicas of the Toy Drive campaign by Hamlin have been spotted, according to the Daily Mail. On the contrary, there have been claims that these pages were created to raise funds for Hamlin who is currently being treated at the hospital.
Hamlin's family confirmed that 'The Chasing M's Foundation Community Toy Drive' is the only one verified campaign on the GoFundMe platform. One page was even set up to warn people about fraudulent campaigners attempting to benefit from the NFL star's present condition. Though multiple fake campaigns are set up, they have not yet been able to raise huge amounts with some of the pages raising just $100.
As per the TMZ report, GoFundMe said that ensuring people's safety and protecting "the generosity of our donors" is its top priority. The company also added that it is common that the platform to be used by people to lend help in different situations. The platform also stated the new campaigns set to profit off Hamlin's condition are closely monitored and unauthorized ones are being removed.
On the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, Hamlin's marketing representative and close friend Jordon Rooney stated that the surged funds raised for the Toy Drive will mean a lot to the Buffalo Bills' safety. "His family said today we can’t just do a toy drive now. He started that toy drive in college when he didn't have money to do a toy drive himself."
"So, someone dug that up from 2020 I had to figure out how to get the password today cause there’s $3.5 million sitting in there. I’m excited for Damar when he sees that because that sort of stuff means so much to him. He was just talking to me last week like, 'Hey Jordon we gotta set up my camp this summer, we gotta start getting sponsors for the camp.' We don’t need sponsors anymore," Rooney added.
ESPN's Coley Harvey who talked to Rooney, shared Hamlin's health update and his progress on Wednesday as he wrote on Twitter saying, “as per Jordon and Damar’s family, doctors overnight got promising readings that they had been hoping to see by this morning. Jordon couldn’t go into specifics, but progress appears to be made."