A community-led prayer vigil for injured Buffalo Bills Safety and McKees Rocks native Damar Hamlin turned to celebration during the Jan. 9 event held at Sto-Rox Stadium. The announcement stating Hamlin was being transferred from the Cincinnati hospital to Buffalo was met with cheers. He has since been released. After suffering cardiac arrest on field during a Monday Night Football game Jan. 2, an online fundraiser for a 2020 toy drive for youngsters in McKees Rocks skyrocketed to $8.7 million.
“Damar created The Chasing M’s Foundation to use as a vehicle to bring lasting impact to his community. The foundation supports toy drives, back-to-school drives, kids camps, and more,” an update to the GoFundMe read.
In his original fundraiser, Hamlin wrote:
“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. I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive.”
Prior to joining the Bills’ organization, Hamlin played for the University of Pittsburgh, Central Catholic and the Sto-Rox Little Vikings youth football programs. His family calls McKees Rocks home.
Mother Nina Hamlin is the Nina in Kelly and Nina’s Daycare Center in Stowe. Cousin Dorian Glenn is Program Manager for Grow Sto-Rox, a local strategic collaborative between Communities In Schools, Focus On Renewal, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, Sto-Rox School District and Zellous Hope Project.