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Bills S Damar Hamlin throws out first pitch Monday as part of Yankees' HOPE Week Initiative

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin helped kick off the Yankees' 14th annual HOPE Week by throwing out the first pitch at New York's Monday night game against the Baltimore Orioles.

The HOPE Week Initiative runs from July 3-7, and was established both to spread encouragement through acts of goodwill and to generate awareness for special causes and organizations.

Hamlin visited Yankee Stadium prior to first pitch with certified CPR instructors to educate Yankees players and New York City Public School Athletics League personnel. Hamlin, along with the teachers and coaches, also toured the stadium and attended batting practice.

Speaking to the media, Hamlin gave a "big thank you" to the Yankees for taking time from their season to focus on such a cause.

"It's a crazy feeling," Hamlin said. "It makes me feel like I'm doing my part and making an impact of changing the world. That's been my goal for my entire life. Before any of you probably even knew me, I had my eye set on making an impact on the world someway, somehow. I didn't know how it would be, but I'm fine with this platform, and I'm fine with this story, as well. I'm going to continue to keep doing my part and making an impact on the world and changing things."

Hamlin's selection as a HOPE Week participant comes six months after he suffered a cardiac arrest following a collision with Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins during a Jan. 2 game between the Bills and Bengals. He required resuscitation on the field through CPR and the use of a defibrillator.

He was then transported by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was deemed to be in critical condition and spent almost a week there before recovering enough to fly to Buffalo for further treatment.

Since his discharge from the Buffalo General Medical Center on Jan. 11, Hamlin has received full clearance from doctors for an NFL return, and he participated in team drills for the first time during organized team activities on June 6.

But beyond his quest to make it back to the gridiron, Hamlin has also undertaken huge efforts to expand CPR awareness across the country.

He launched a multi-city CPR tour in June through his foundation, Chasing M’s, which received over $9 million in donations in the aftermath of his on-field collapse. The tour is focused on distributing medical equipment, such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and educating youth sports players and coaches on resuscitation techniques. The Bills also provided hands-only CPR training events locally through a partnership with the American Heart Association.

Well on the road back to the football field and determined to make a difference along the way, taking the mound at Yankee Stadium on Monday was Hamlin's latest inspirational stop.

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