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Damar Hamlin’s Soon-To-Be 7.5 Million Dollar Headache

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Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe Page: for Charity or Injury? 

The following blog written by Longmont Attorney Jess Cash talks about Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe page for The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, and how the immense support for the GoFundMe page following his injury may have been confused by some as an opportunity to financially support his journey to recovery. 

Damar Hamlin’s Soon-To-Be 7.5 Million Dollar Headache 

As an attorney, unfortunately, I can’t always control how my brain thinks. I want to say first and foremost, I send immense well wishes to Damar Hamlin and his family. Self-admittedly, I am not a football fan but just happened to be sitting in front of the TV when the injury occurred because my husband and son were watching the game. My son is a diehard Bills fan. I know anyone who was watching in real time must have had the same shock and horror I felt when Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after a tackle. I will continue to keep Damar in my prayers.  

Ok, now that I have tried to establish that this blog is not intended to be insensitive, the legal question that keeps popping up is” What is going to happen with the over 7.5 million dollars being donated to Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe charity?” I started watching the GoFundMe page early on and then noticed there was an update to the page on January 3rd that implied the funds would go towards the charity’s purpose as well as his current fight. Of course, as an attorney that got me thinking: can Damar Hamlin or his family legally use these funds towards his recovery when it was set up as a charity fundraiser?  

That’s the question I’d like to unravel today. The update I’m referring to reads in part:  

January 3, 2023 

by Damar Hamlin, Organizer 

**UPDATE: This fundraiser was initially established to support a toy drive for Damar’s community, sponsored by the Chasing M’s Foundation. 

However, it has received renewed support in light of Damar’s current battle, and we can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us. 

If you would like to show your support and contribute to Damar’s community initiatives and his current fight, this is the place to do so. This is the only current fund being used by the Hamlin Family.  

There is a new update posted on January 4th that states in part:  

As representatives of Damar, the team at Jaster Athletes posted the fundraiser updates and will work with the Hamlin family, The Chasing M’s Foundation, and the GoFundMe team to ensure the safe delivery of funds. 

Because the situation is evolving, we’ll continue to communicate any updates on the fundraiser. We will also work with GoFundMe to email all donors with more specifics regarding the use of funds as those details are available. As you can imagine, this has been a challenging time for the family. We appreciate your understanding as we give them the time and space they need to focus on Damar’s health first. 

I started researching the issue a bit on GoFundMe and it does seem to indicate that the funds will likely have to go to the charity, here is the link: 

To complicate matters further, it sounds like the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office will be involved based upon a statement given to Sportico:  

“Our office’s concern focuses on ensuring that any donations collected are used for the purposes that were represented to the donors,” Deputy Attorney General Mark Pacella said in a statement. “The donations received by GoFundMe obtained on behalf of Damar Hamlin are subject to the Pennsylvania Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act as it applies to all Internet fundraising campaigns when the charity and/or the fundraiser is located in Pennsylvania.” 

Fascinating issue as I think it is fair to assume that some people believed they were donating to Damar’s recovery and possible career-ending injury while others thought they were simply supporting his charity. Sounds to me like a legal battle is likely…