CHUCKSTRONG Champions campaign unveiled

Contest named after Colts coach Chuck Pagano will reward one selected social-media winner with unique prize package.

The Indianapolis Colts and Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center launched a social media campaign Thursday to celebrate the CHUCKSTRONG Champions in our lives.

The CHUCKSTRONG campaign was launched in 2012, when coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia just three games into his first season in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis community rallied around Pagano, who was treated at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Pagano has since made a full recovery and has championed cancer research aimed at helping others beat their cancer.

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

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 Pagano and a personalized game ball featuring the name of the winner’s CHUCKSTRONG Champion.

As part of the campaign, the Colts will match the first $10,000 in donations to the Colts Foundation to support research at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Donations may be made at

“My wife, Tina, is my CHUCKSTRONG Champion,” Pagano said. “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 also a way to raise awareness about the incredible research taking place right here in Indianapolis. I wouldn’t be alive today if research weren’t done years ago, and I want to pay it forward. I hope our fans will join me in making a gift to support research. You just don’t know whose life it might save.”

Since its inception, CHUCKSTRONG has raised nearly $2 million to support the 200 cancer researchers at Indiana University looking for ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.

“Our partnership with the Indianapolis Colts has been incredible, providing critical research funding for various types of cancer,” said Patrick Loehrer, M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center. “The coach and the entire Colts organization have a passion, compassion and commitment to make a difference for cancer patients everywhere.”

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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