"When you put real love out into the world, it comes back to you 3x's as much"
Even though I am a big Buffalo Bills fan (living in Buffalo during the '80s through 4 Super Bowl rides with Machine-Gun Kelly at the helm) and now I'm rooting from afar with Josh Allen and his team, hoping one day to get to the Super Bowl again - and this time win (let's go 2024)! I have to say I did not know who Damar Hamlin was when he went into cardiac arrest during the Bengals vs. Bills Monday night game on January 2nd.
Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety for the Bills, made a routine tackle. He got up and collapsed on his back as his body went into cardiac arrest. His heart stopped briefly, and Bills' medical personnel rushed to the field and performed CPR to restart his heart and save his life. He was down on the field for 19 minutes. We all saw his teammates shaken up and visibly upset on national TV. I was in tears like everyone else when both teams got down on their knees and huddled together in one collective prayer.
So many people prayed because of what the players did on Monday night. And that night, during a football game, Damar brought everyone together, regardless of their culture, religion, race, or gender. The phrase "prayers for Damar" has been seen almost everywhere, on social media, on the signs at Highmark Stadium, and even on national television.
I am a spiritual person, not necessarily a religious one. For me praying looks like this - As I walk in nature or sit quietly in the morning, I send healing thoughts into the universe. However, the more I educate myself on mindfulness and spirituality I now believe in the collective power of prayer after seeing what happened to Damar. It was like a light went off, an A-ha! Prayer is universal, and there are no right and wrong ways on how to pray and when to do it. Praying takes us to a deeper level, and it takes us to HOPE. That's the thing that we need most in a situation like Damar's.
Over the next few days, the world anxiously waited to find out what was happening. Was Damar going to make it? Would he suffer a brain injury as well from lack of oxygen? A HUGE sigh of relief and tears of joy when we found out he had begun to communicate in writing with his family - and his first question was, "Did we win?" his doctors said, "The answer is yes, Damar, you won."
Damar is a Giver
In 2020 Damar started a Toy Drive as a college football player, ensuring that the kids in his community received toys for the holidays. His original goal was $2500, and when the world discovered what happened to Damar, the charity collected more than $8.9 million with over 250,000 individual donors in a couple of weeks. The Chasing M's Foundation Charitable Fund plans to support young people through education and sports.
Damar is finally home with his parents recovering, and we are all hoping he will be back to full strength again one day. Damar Hamlin wrote on Instagram that he'd rather be running out of the tunnel at the start of the game with his teammates but said instead, "God Using Me In A Different Way Today." What an inspiration. I love following him on social media now - his smile is contagious, and he has a heart of gold.
Thank you, Damar - you are a walking miracle and a reason for HOPE.
xo - Andrea
Check out the awesome Buffalo wear (like my Damar sweatshirt) at Buffalove Apparel.
More than 365,000 people in the U.S. have sudden cardiac arrests in non-hospital settings each year, according to the American Heart Association. Survival depends on quick CPR and shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm, as reportedly happened with Hamlin.
A sweet story on Damar's humble roots - from a sports article I found online.