Fans show support for ChuckStrong campaign
At the Blue Crew lot Colts fans warmed up for the showdown with the Packers in many of the usual ways. There was food, corn hole, and plenty of beverages.
But on Sunday there was something different being served at the Blue Crew tailgate, a big dose of love and support for Colts coach Chuck Pagano.
The Blue Crew printed nearly 400 shirts to show they are behind the Coach as he takes on his toughest opponent yet: Leukemia.
The front of the shirt shows an orange ribbon above the words Chuck Strong. One the back it says "We've got this one"
"All the money from the T-shirts will go to the Leukemia society in his name. We figure it's the right move" said Blue Crew member Jim Fox.
The Colts organization couldn't agree more. On Saturday, their version of the Chuck Strong shirt went on sale at the pro shop and fans were grabbing them up by the handfuls.
"All that money raised will go directly towards continued research and as you know IU Simon Cancer Center is where coach is being treated so it ties in nicely and that money will stay right here in Central Indiana" said Stephanie, director of Community Relations for the Colts.
People are obviously buying this shirt to support the coach but for a lot of the fans, it's more than that. It's personal.
"Stay strong means a lot probably more than I can put into words" said Cheryl Holliday.
Holliday is a cancer survivor. Just one of many who feels a deeper kinship with the Coach.
"I personally lost a niece to leukemia in 1994 so this is really something I support" said Keith Bradley as he searched the rack for his shirt size.
"My dad also had leukemia so it's near and dear to my heart" said another fan.
While people want to do all they can to show their financial support for cancer research, there was no shortage of good old fashioned well wishes either.
"We will rally around you and support you and this cause any way that we can" said one fan.
"Get well soon man. We miss ya. We got this. You take care of yourself " said Jim Fox.
"The Blue Crew definitely has his back. Absolutely"
"Get well coach we miss ya and can't wait to have you back on the field" said Jamie Ellis of Carmel.
In other words, stay Chuck Strong Coach.
Fans will have the chance to donate blood in the coach's honor starting on Tuesday. Donors will also receive a Chuck Strong Poster.
For more information on the ChuckStrong campaign.