Rally behind CHUCKSTRONG has wide effect - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Rally behind CHUCKSTRONG has wide effect

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INDIANAPOLIS -

It's been three weeks since the Colts announced coach Chuck Pagano was about to face his toughest opponent: leukemia.

Since then, everyone from the players to the fans have rallied, jumping on the "CHUCKSTRONG" bandwagon. That help is not limited to the coach.

"It means a great deal to people with the disease and for people like myself, who are looking for better treatments" said Dr. Larry Cripe who is treating Pagano at IU Simon Cancer Center.

The CHUCKSTRONG movement inspired more than 900 fans to roll up their sleeves and give blood.

"Potentially each one of those people could save up to three lives. Real value for us," said Wendy Mehringer with the Indiana Blood Center.

Donors filled out cards, sending best wishes and love to the coach. Fans didn't hesitate to take out their wallets, snatching up CHUCKSTRONG t-shirts and bracelets, with proceeds benefiting the fight against leukemia.

"In total, we have raised $178,000 for leukemia research in coach's honor at IU Simon Cancer Center," said Indianapolis Colts Community Relations Coordinator Stephanie Pemberton.

While most people genuinely want to help, one person only wants to help himself by allegedly selling knock-off bracelets at Sundays game. According to police, an off-duty officer noticed the man, who was wearing an American Cancer Society badge. He was selling blue CHUCKSTRONG bracelets for $1. The officer took the bracelets and the mans ID.

"It is sad that there are people out there that would take advantage of your generosity, your kindness and desire to help another, but it's buyer beware," said Metro Police Sgt. Linda Jackson.

Mary Williams who has battling leukemia for more than a year, says she is able to see past the selfish acts of one. In fact, the coach has inspired her to stay strong.

"When I see all the support at those Colts games, it's the most I'm going to get choked up. It's great, because we know now that, not just because he is the coach, but now we know that there is light at the end of the tunnel," Williams said.

There are a few things people can do to make sure donations are going where they should be. All official CHUCKSTRONG merchandise, including t-shirts and bracelets are available only at the pro shop.

Metro police also suggests only donating to those collecting on Lucas Oil Stadium property. When in doubt, just hold off.

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