INDIANAPOLIS - As the Colts season came to an end Sunday, fans reflected on the leader that connected a community beyond the football field.
From Chuck Pagano’s absence as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts due to his battle with cancer, to his emotional return, Indianapolis fans showed they’re undeniably “ChuckStrong”.
"We're ChuckStrong so we support our team, we support our coach, whatever we have to go through we'll be there for him," said Colts fan John Kauffman.
Indianapolis received a thank you in the form of letter from Pagano in the Indianapolis Star.
"On behalf of the Pagano family, thank you for helping me heal and for showing our country that we do have the best fans in the entire world," the letter read.
Fellow leukemia survivor Danette Swenson of Camby said it's Pagano who deserves the thanks.
"When they told me I had leukemia, I thought I was going to die. I thought that was it and my children were going to lose their mom, and I wouldn't be with my family anymore. And that first night I cried a lot," said Swenson.
Swenson said Pagano sends a message of hope by raising awareness about cancer.
"To see him struggle through that helps to just let patients know that there is life and you can survive it," Swenson said.
At The Pub in downtown Indianapolis, even patrons rooting for the other team were rooting for Pagano.
"That just shows (we’re) not just ChuckStrong, but Indianapolis Strong," said owner Gordon Coke.