He’s paying it forward!
Damar Hamlin is a safety with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Last season, Hamlin made headlines when he suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game on national television. Thanks to life-saving emergency care from Bills’ personnel, Hamlin was resuscitated and received an outpouring of support from around the world. Donations also poured in for the 25-year-old athlete, with his charitable organization, Chasing M’s Foundation, reporting more than $9 million from donors. Now Hamlin is putting some of those funds to good use, launching a multi-city tour to raise awareness about the importance of CPR and offer on-site training for free, NFL.com reports.
“Growing up playing sports, I never really remember ever thinking about where an AED was, or ever thinking about CPR training. I don’t ever remember a coach or a parent ever knowing where an AED was in a gym or stadium, or anywhere, for that matter. As we learned from my personal experience, it is very important and life-changing. This program is very important because it gives life-saving care to kids in their own communities and on the field,” said Hamlin.
The NFL star kicked off the tour at the Bills' home stadium this past weekend, distributing automated defibrillators to nearly 50 youth sports and community organizations. The foundation offered free CPR training for over 1,000 people and promoted techniques that helped save his own life. Hamlin connected with youth football players and coaches, signing autographs and taking photos, even playing catch and mini-golf with attendees. He was joined by his parents, younger brother and team.
“This is his legacy now. It helped save his life and he wants to help save as many other lives as possible. It’s not just about awareness. It’s rebranding the messaging so that everyone learns CPR, and everyone knows how to use an AED,” said Hamlin’s marketing rep Jordon Rooney.
While the first stop was at the Bills stadium, Hamlin also has scheduled tour dates in New York City, Pittsburgh where he attended college, and Cincinnati, the city Hamlin was in when his life was saved on that fateful day. Hamlin has since been cleared by doctors and plans to return to the field, participating with the Bills during spring minicamps and getting back to regular individual drills.
In addition to partnering with Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation CPR Tour, the Buffalo Bills have also teamed up with the American Heart Association to offer hands-only CPR training in western New York. According to the AHA, timely CPR intervention can double or triple the likelihood of survival for someone experiencing cardiac arrest. Jason Stulb, executive director of the AHA Buffalo/Niagara region said it’s important for the organization to partner with organizations like Hamlin’s and the Bills so they can “turn a nation of bystanders into a nation of lifesavers.”
Thanks for all you’re doing with your new lease on life Damar!
Cover photo: Damar Hamlin launches multi-city tour to provide free CPR training/Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press