IU cancer research fund created in honor of Chuck Pagano and his wife

Former Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano speaks at Friday's "A Celebration of Commitment" event.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's name will carry on in central Indiana through cancer research at Indiana University.

Pagano and his wife Tina were honored Friday as the community raised more than $700,000 to create a cancer research fund at IU's School of Medicine. The Chuck and Tina Pagano Cancer Research Fund will support junior researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia during his first season as the Colts head coach in 2012. His battle was supported by the "Chuckstrong" initiative, which helped lead to Friday's announcement.

“Chuck selflessly shared his personal journey with the public while he fought a rare form of leukemia,” Patrick Loehrer MD, director of the IU Simon Cancer Center, said.

More than $5.5 million has been raised for cancer research through the Paganos' leadership in the Chuckstrong initiative.

"I'm very humbled, very honored that our legacy will hopefully live a lot longer than Tina and I, and we will be able to help future researchers, doctors and scientists keep working and achieve our ultimate goal— to find a cure for all cancers," Pagano said.

Colts owner Jim Irsay contributed $250,000 to start the campaign during the "A Celebration of Commitment" event at his home. Gary and Carol Edwards, owners of DEEM Mechanical and Electrical Company, matched the first $250,000 raised and the Paganos themselves donated $50,000.

Pagano was fired by the Colts after the 2017 season.