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Indianapolis Colts

Five Years After Chuckstrong, Former Colts Cheerleaders Donate Their Hair

It was a moment many of us will never forget. Two Colts cheerleaders shaved their heads to support Coach Chuck Pagano and raise money for cancer research. In honor of the five year anniversary of Chuckstrong, they donated their hair again.


It was a moment that captured hearts, shattered stereotypes, and defined a community.

With Coach Chuck Pagano battling leukemia and Colts players shaving their heads in support - Colts mascot, Blue, had a challenge for the Colts Cheerleaders. If he raised $10,000 for the IU Simon Cancer Center, would one of them agree to let him shave her head?

Megan accepted Blue's Chuckstrong challenge, calling it "a God thing."


"I had a dream that I shaved my head to raise money for cancer before Chuck was even diagnosed," she says. "I told the team about it and they remembered that I said that. I think they asked me, 'Would you really do that?' I was like, 'Yeah, I would totally do that.'"

Little did she know how soon she'd be asked to actually do it.

Blue raised more than $22,000 in two weeks. And another cheerleader, Crystal Anne, stepped up to shave her head too.

"I had cancer when I was younger," she says. "I had been in Chuck Pagano's shoes. I had leukemia when I was three years old. I knew exactly what he was going through."

On Sunday, November 25, 2012, the Colts played the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium. And in the third quarter, Blue shaved Megan and Crystal Anne's heads on the field.

On Sunday, November 25, 2012, two Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders shaved their heads bald as a part of Blue's CHUCKSTRONG Challenge, raising more than $22,000 in 2 weeks to support leukemia research.

"It all happened really fast," says Crystal Anne.

"We were just excited and the whole crowd was pumped," says Megan. "I wasn't nervous at all. I never had second thoughts – from the moment I signed the contract that I definitely was going to do it, I was gung ho."

Afterwards, they donated their hair to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces for children suffering from hair loss.

And neither of them had any regrets. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

"I had a lot of strangers come up to me and tell their story," says Crystal Anne. "That brought me great joy, just knowing that I could relate to someone that quickly. It was really heartfelt and I was glad that I did it – even more so afterwards."

Both of them have been growing their hair out ever since.

Now retired from cheering and with the five-year anniversary of Chuckstrong, they thought it would be a great time to do it again.


"I was already thinking about donating my hair," says Crystal Anne. "Since it was our five-year anniversary, I know Megan was thinking about donating as well."


They made appointments together at Tyler Mason Salon. Cara, who helped Blue shave their heads five years ago, chopped 10 to 12 inches off both of their locks.

"She stayed late to cut our hair and help us style it," Megan says. "It was fun to get back together and talk about it and reminisce."


This time, they donated to Wigs For Kids. And just like the last time, they have no regrets.

Parting with their hair was a defining moment for both of them.

"I would say it's one of the most memorable moments – definitely of my career, but also of my life," says Crystal Anne.

"It really touched this city," says Megan. "I feel like we both would never take it back."

A selfless gesture that inspired a fan base and shattered the stereotype of cheerleaders – that it's not all about the glitz and the glam, the boots and the hair flips. At the end of the day, it's about helping people.


"It's the least that we could do to help another individual," Crystal Anne says. "I can only think if we did this every five years, of how many people and how many kids we can impact with just hair. It's something that's priceless and if it brings joy to someone else, then why not?"

A prized possession to some, to Crystal Anne and Megan, hair is something to share – a way to give back to others.

And what they get in return is just as priceless.

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