By Danny Cox
The Indianapolis Colts had a little bit of down time on Saturday night, and they decided to put it to good use. Instead of going out and partying or even sitting back and trying to prepare for their next game, they got to work in other ways.
This team used their down time to show support for Coach Chuck Pagano and raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Indiana.
Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia at the beginning of October, and it is a treatable form of the disease. There is even the hope that it is potentially curable. It is a long and complicated process, but members of the Colts’ staff, including Pagano, have been optimistic.
Saturday night’s fundraiser was held just days after almost three dozed players, including Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, shaved their heads in support of Pagano and his fight against a form of leukemia. Interim coach Bruce Arians was joined by some players and other Colts employees for the fundraiser.
It was the hope of the organizers that at least $10,000 could be raised to donate to the society in Pagano’s name.
This was a rare Saturday night off for the team and Arians said that there was no better way to spend it. He had watched Alabama – where he twice coached – play, he spoke to fans, and supported one of his very close friends.
“This is about family, and so many families are affected by this disease that everything we can do to fight it, we will,” said Arians, a prostate cancer survivor himself.”
Sean Sullivan and his wife, who own Sully’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, came up with the idea for the fundraiser. Sullivan is also the equipment manager for the Colts and one of those that shaved their heads for Pagano.
Over the years and through contacts around the NFL and other sports, Sullivan had collected multiple pieces of memorabilia to auction off at the fundraiser. Some of the items up for auction were:
- Signed NFL jersey from Drew Brees
- Signed NFL jersey from Edgerrin James
- Signed NFL jersey from Tim Tebow
- Peyton Manning’s signed high school jersey
- Football signed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
- Basketball signed by Indiana coach Tom Crean
- Football signed by Indiana coach Kevin Wilson
- Mini-helmet signed by Dick Butkus
- Helmet signed by Dan Marino
- Helmet signed by Rex Ryan
- Racing helmet signed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Baltimore Ravens helmet
- Scripts autographed by the casts of Criminal Minds and CSI: New York
This is just one of the many ways that Colts‘ players and staff have tried to show their support for Pagano. They have all stood behind him every single step of the way, and want him to know they are always there for him.
“It’s in Coach’s honor and he doesn’t even know we’re donating the money in his name,” Sullivan said. “When he first got here, he told me he had my back. I just wanted to help.”
Throughout the season, special gloves have been worn by Reggie Wayne in support of Pagano. Arians put a special button on his Colts baseball cap worn during games. There are even shirts and bracelets being sold that simply state “Chuckstrong.”
Chuck Pagano certainly has a long fight ahead of him, but he’s definitely not going to be doing it alone.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.