Coach Pagano hosts annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala, $1 million raised for cancer research

Chuck Pagano hosts his 5th annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala to raise money for cancer research at the Colts Complex. (WXIN April 21, 2017)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Colts are still a few weeks away from putting on the pads, but a handful of horseshoes turned out to support head coach Chuck Pagano at the annual Chuckstrong Gala at the team complex Friday night.

The team announced they raised over $1 million dollars for cancer research at the Gala.

The event began after the Colts head coach was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and it brings together more than 500 people in their tailgate attire to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

The event took place Friday night at the Colt’s Complex.  Funds raised are used to support cancer research projects that may lead to improved treatment options for patients.

“It’s the fifth annual,” said the coach.  “Blessed to be part of another one.  This is such a great event, a group of people committed to come together for a cause and to help find a cure.  We may think we’re a long way away, but I don’t think we are.  There’s two sides here, the football side and the human side and we try to keep it in perspective.  We’ve all got hard jobs, but we separate the two tonight.”

The previous four Chuckstrong Tailgate Galas have raised nearly $3.2 million through corporate sponsorship, live and silent auctions and generous contributions from the Pagano family, the Irsay family and event guests.

The event kicks off a week before the NFL Draft and Pagano is looking forward to adding more talent to a team that’s already seen a lot of off-season changes.

“Really excited, a ton of work has gone into that process,” Pagano said.  “Chris Ballard has done a phenomenal job of getting the coaching and personnel sides together to unite this building.  They’re turning over every stone and the cement’s not dry yet. There’s a lot of things that will happen leading up to the draft and a lot of things that will happen on the those three days next week.  It’s an exciting time, an opportunity to get good players, create competition and help us out.”

The Colts currently have seven picks including the 15th overall choice in the NFL Draft that begins April 27th.