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ChuckStrong Tailgate Gala raises $1.8 million for cancer research

Posted: 12:30 AM, May 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-10 00:30:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been a couple years since the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with Chuck Pagano, but the former head coach is working with the team again in an effort to beat an opponent off the field.

Pagano hosted the annual ChuckStrong Tailgate Gala Thursday night at the Colts Complex on the northwest side.

The event raised more than $1.8 million to support cancer research at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Colts owner Jim Irsay donated $1 million to the effort, according to a release, and more than $7.3 million has been raised since the gala began.

Doctors first diagnosed Pagano with leukemia in 2012 during his first season as Colts head coach.

"I'm better, not bitter," Pagano said. "We've said that for a long time. This is much bigger than football. It has nothing to do with myself. It doesn't have anything to do with the Colts. It doesn't have anything to do with the Bears. This is all about coming together as a community, raising money for cancer awareness."

Pagano is now the Chicago Bears' defensive coordinator.