Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala sets record with nearly $1.2 million for cancer research

April 28, 2016

The fourth annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala set a record on Thursday, April 21, with nearly $1.2 million netted for cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

Nearly $30,000 of the total amount raised was generated by 25 donors who paid for a chance to catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck. | Photo By Banayote

Hosted by the Indianapolis Colts and head coach Chuck Pagano at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, the tailgate gala raised the funds through corporate sponsorships, live and silent auctions, and the annual Chuckstrong Giving Challenge. The total includes $250,000 that was given by the Jim Irsay family and $50,000 from the coach and his wife, Tina.

The record-setting amount also included $30,000 that was generated by 25 people who paid $1,200 each for the thrilling chance to catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck.

The event brought together more than 500 guests, nearly all of the Colts players, the Colts coaching staff, and the Colts cheerleaders. The guests participated in activities such as a 40-yard dash, punt returns, and tackling stations on the Colts practice field before they turned their attention to raising money for cancer research.

Coach Pagano, who was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia nearly four years ago, asked the crowd to contribute to fight the "monster" -- cancer.

"There's a monster out there and it's terrorizing everyone," Pagano told the crowd. "Cancer does not discriminate. It's touched everybody in this room. What I'm asking tonight is that we all come together. I'm asking that we all form a powerful army tonight. I'm asking you to give tonight so that the doctors, the researchers, and the scientists that are here tonight and the other 200 at the IU Simon Cancer Center can do their jobs."

Funds from the tailgate gala are used to support cancer research projects that translate laboratory discoveries into improved treatment options for patients. Research leads to advancements to find better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.

For more on this year’s tailgate gala, visit the IUSM Newsroom. To view NFL coverage of the event, click here