Donning orange gloves in support of head coach Chuck Pagano on Oct. 7, 2012, Wayne flashed his bright mittens all afternoon against the Green Bay Packers.
Wayne caught 13 passes for a career-high 212 yards and his fourth quarter touchdown earned a victory in the first game Pagano was sidelined due to his battle with leukemia.
“This did mean a whole lot with how the whole week’s been going,” Wayne said following the win over the Packers. “I talked to Coach Pagano and he wanted us to win so bad.”
“This was for Chuck.”
Wayne will host a charity event at Dunaway’s restaurant downtown where all proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society childhood cancer research funding.
Friday’s event will run from 6-9 P.M. and is in memory of two-year old Ava Parker, who lost her battle with brain cancer in January.
“I just want everybody to come out in fellowship with myself and some other teammates of mine to show support,” Wayne said.
“You get an opportunity to support a great cause along with seeing some of your favorite Colts players. You can sit back, you can take pictures, autograph sessions, enjoy some of the great food at Dunaway’s.”
When Wayne was informed of Ava’s battle, the Colts wide receiver knew he had to make an impact.
Wayne pointed to this stat--- according to the ACS, cancer is expected to be diagnosed in 15,780 children and adolescents (age 0-19) in the US this year and 1,960 children will lose their lives—as a major reason why he is hosting Friday’s event.
“I heard (Ava) was a sweet young girl who loved life,” Wayne said. “(Dunaway’s General Manager Connie McDonald) shared with me the story on how much she loved life and how she was so young and how it’s not fair to see someone so young going through this battle with cancer and all these different illnesses.
“Everyone who knows me well knows that I love the kids, so I just want to do as much as I can to help this cause.”
Back in 2012, it was the orange gloves serving as a symbol for Wayne’s support of his head coach and, more importantly, a friend.
Wayne and his teammates will be back at it on Friday, this time away from the playing field, but still doing everything they can to help.
“We all saw what happened with Coach Pagano and it touched everybody. But when you hear about kids losing their lives to cancer it’s almost harder,” Wayne said.
“It was just an opportunity for me to reach out to the city and have people come out and do something really, really special.”