Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, is contributing to a fundraising effort in response to NFL player Damar Hamlin’s unexpected cardiac arrest on Monday night with a gift motivated by his Jewish identity.
To a Hamlin-created online fundraising campaign that had amassed more than $6.3 million as of Wednesday afternoon, Kraft and the Patriots contributed $18,003.
In Judaism, the number 18 has special meaning because it represents “chai,” or life, and Jews frequently give to charity in multiples of 18. Hamlin’s jersey number is 3.
Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety who collapsed on the field during a game between his Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals and is still in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, had previously established a GoFundMe page to raise money for a holiday toy drive with an initial goal of $2,500.
Since the event, supporters and other athletes have donated money to Hamlin and his family through the GoFundMe page.
The fundraiser page includes a comment that reads, “If you would want to express your support and donate to Damar’s community efforts and his present fight, this is the place to do so.”
The Hamlin Family is currently just utilizing this one fund.
NFL players Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and their teams have all made financial contributions.
The second-highest donation made during the fundraising is from Kraft.
Earlier last season, Kraft paid an advertisement imploring NFL fans to “stand up against Jewish bigotry.” Kraft routinely contributes to Jewish groups.
Robert Kraft and the Patriots add $18,003.
Within the Jewish faith, 18 is “chai” and signifies life. The “3” is Damar Hamlin’s number.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 4, 2023