Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 4/21/13

After coach Chuck Pagano's bout with leukemia last season, the Indianapolis Colts organization has devoted itself to raising money for cancer research and awareness.

Thus far, they've done a damn fine job.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the campaign has topped $1.1 million, with more than $650,000 netted during Friday's inaugural “Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala.”

The Gala was held at the Colts complex, and featured quarterback Andrew Luck throwing passes to 24 people who donated $1,000.

“What an experience,” Anthony Najem, CEO of Meyer Najem Construction, said. “Andrew Luck first asked me, he said, ‘All right, what play are we doing?’ I said, ‘The hook and go, and I’m going to go from the right to the left.’ (Luck) said, ‘Cool.’ And then he fired the ball and I caught it, which is so amazing.”

Several silent auctions also were held, including a trip for 10 to a 2013 Colts away game in the Irsay jet, an estimated value of $75,000.

“We’ve had a great partnership with (the IU Simon Cancer Center),” said Colts co-owner Kalen Irsay. “But (the center) also obviously holds a very special place in our heart because they saved his life. (Pagano) got the best treatment there. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more. And his family can attest to it the same way.”

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