ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is honoring the medical team that helped save his life by launching a scholarship program for Cincinnati youths on Sunday.
Hamlin’s charitable foundation, Chasing M’s, will be awarding $1,000 scholarships to 10 individuals from the area’s under-served communities for each of the next three years. Each of the individual scholarships will be named after the 10 first-responders, nurses and doctors who treated Hamlin after he went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2.
The announcement coincides with the Bills’ first return to Cincinnati to play the Bengals on Sunday night. Hamlin and the Bills arrived in town a day earlier, when the player personally unveiled the scholarship program during a dinner with the 10 life-savers.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to set up a scholarship program to honor this team of professionals — my Cincinnati heroes — who helped save my life,” Hamlin said in a released statement. “Today, as I look at honoring these Cincinnati heroes and lifting up young people who are trying to find their way, I’m reminded of the enormous blessing I’ve been given through my charity and the generosity of people around the world.”
Growing up in the Pittsburgh exurb of McKees Rock, Hamlin was the recipient of a scholarship that allowed him to attend Central Catholic High School. He eventually went on to play for the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted by the Bills in 2021.
Though Hamlin established his foundation while still in college to give back to local youths, it wasn’t until his collapse and recovery that led to Chasing M’s attracting more than $9 million in contributions. He has since used his charity to distribute automated external defibrillators to community sports associations and promote CPR training.
The 25-year-old Hamlin resumed his career by making the Bills roster in August. He has only appeared in one game this season, and is not expected to play on Sunday night because Hamlin is the fifth and final safety on Buffalo’s depth chart.
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