In 2012, just three games into his tenure as Indianapolis Colts head coach, Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. He would miss the following 12 weeks of the season as he underwent treatment at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, and thankfully he beat cancer and was able to return to the Colts' sideline for their week seventeen matchup against the Texans in 2012.
Pagano and his family were embraced by the Indianapolis community and fans rallied around him (evidenced perhaps most notably by the "ChuckStrong" campaign), and he has spent the last few years trying to give back as much as he can to the community and to others battling cancer. It's not uncommon for him to visit with cancer patients to encourage them, and he holds a "ChuckStrong" gala each year to raise money and support for cancer research.
On Thursday, the Colts (and Pagano), along with the IU Simon Cancer Center, announced a new social media "ChuckStrong champion" campaign. According to the Colts, here's what the campaign is all about:
Fans are encouraged to share a photo on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Vine and to include a few words about why the person represents the qualities of CHUCKSTRONG: strength, perseverance, compassion, love, family, community, serving and giving back. Photos should be tagged #CHUCKSTRONG. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Friday, May 12. To view entries or submit a photo directly through the CHUCKSTRONG Champion page, fans can visit www.colts.com/chuckstrongchampion.
One entry will be selected at random to win a VIP Game Day Experience, which includes two tickets to a 2015 Colts home game, pre-game sideline passes, a meet-and-greet with Coach Chuck Pagano and a personalized game ball featuring the name of the winner's CHUCKSTRONG Champion.
Chuck Pagano commented on who his ChuckStrong champion is:
"My wife, Tina, is my CHUCKSTRONG Champion. She was there every step of the way during my treatment, and I never could have done it without her. There are a lot of people who face incredible adversity — whether it be an illness or other life circumstance. This campaign celebrates the champions who help us power through difficult times."
It's great to see the Colts' head coach making an impact in the community and giving back, and it's cool to see him use a really hard time in his life to help encourage others going through the same battle and attempt to help them in whatever way he can. This new campaign is just the latest example of Chuck Pagano and the Colts doing just that.