Cincy Shirts and Darin Overholser raise funds for Bills’ Damar Hamlin
NEWCOMERSTOWN ‒ It was a moment that stopped the sports world.
Darin Overholser of Cincy Shirts was at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Jan. 2, watching the Cincinnati Bengals taking on the Buffalo Bills in a key game.
Then it didn’t seem to matter any more.
The collapse of Bills’ player Damar Hamlin sent the stadium into a stunned silence, with Overholser and his son among those watching events unfold on the field. Overholser, son of Dr. Terry and Becky Overholser of Newcomerstown, owns Cincy Shirts and has been active in donating funds for causes throughout the city.
It seemed the entire country was riveted in watching and praying for Hamlin, who according to reports from CNN on Saturday, “just days after his stunning on-field cardiac arrest … is breathing on his own and speaking to family, physicians and teammates.”
“The game was one that my son and I circled as soon as the schedule was released,” Overholser said. “We knew it was going to be Cincinnati’s toughest challenge yet. The build up, the pregame light show, the crowd going absolutely nuts. My watch beeped at me saying I was in an unsafe environment due to the sound levels. I didn’t even know that was a thing.”
It was clear the issue was more than a head injury as they ran the stretcher and the ambulance onto the field in a matter of seconds. The crowd stood silent. No one wanted to see the game resume once he was taken off. Everyone knew it was the right call to stop the game and we knew the game was over.”
Cincy Shirts jumps in to help
Overholser’s commitment to the Cincinnati community led him and his company to contribute to Hamlin’s charitable organization.
“We were getting tweets immediately requesting a shirt, which we felt was in very poor taste,” Overholser said. “We decided to just wait and make sure the health reports were good. We saw the GoFundMe account going crazy and decided that was a good time to help out.”
“We always struggle with jumping onto events like this. We know we can help. We’ve been blessed with a loyal following on social media who have had our backs, but we don’t want to come across as vultures going in for the money grab. We knew we could do nothing and nothing will happen, or use our following to do some good. We chose the latter.”
As a result, Cincy Shirts has been able to donate over $50,000 to Damar Hamlin’s charitable organization and Overholser said the efforts and donations are still going strong. Previously, Overholser and Cincy Shirts were part of a fundraising effort for the Cincinnati Zoos, featuring the young hippo Fiona, which raised well over $200,000.
“We created three T-shirts to honor Damar and raise money for his charity and all are selling very well,” he said. “We teamed up with local Cincinnati cartoonist Kevin Necessary for one of them. We’ve seen our shirts on ESPN Sports Center, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network, TMZ, and we are most proud of Damar’s family and friends at the hospital wearing the shirts.
“We want to thank every single person who has shared and supported our #HamlinStrong fundraiser,” Overholser said. “This has surpassed anything we could have ever imagined and we know this community ain’t done yet.”