INDIANAPOLIS – Fans lined up for autographs and selfies with former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“These people are incredible. Hoosier hospitality,” Pagano told FOX59 before the Colts and Jaguars game.
Pagano was back in the building for the Colts’ “Crucial Catch” game. “Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer” is an NFL initiative to help raise awareness and support survivors and fighters.
Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in his first year as Colts coach. He took part in Sunday’s events to inspire others in their battle.
He started the day by taking part of the “Celebration of Care Breakfast”.
“There were survivors in there,” Pagano said. “There was people going through treatment right now. There was caregivers in there, so it just brought be back to 2012. It brought me back to my diagnosis.”
Pagano hit the Colts’ anvil to mark the 10th anniversary of his treatment and recovery.
When Pagano paced the sidelines for the Colts, he had to take everything just one week at a time, but before his turn at the anvil, he had some prep work to do.
“How much time do I got?” Pagano asked. “They said, ‘you got about a month to get in the weight room.’ I started lifting some weights, practicing with an axe or something.”
Whether it was the weights or the axe, it worked and Lucas Oil Stadium erupted as he struck the anvil before kickoff.
“As long as I’m living and breathing, Tina [his wife] and I are going to continue to fight and raise money for cancer research,” Pagano said. “I’m really blessed and humbled to be here today.”